Police shooting in Yakima is first case to be held to the new standard of I-940
YAKIMA, Wash.- Initiative 940 was only passed last month, but it's already being put into effect here in Yakima.
And maybe the first time in the state of Washington.
A YPD officer is on paid leave after he shot and killed a 66-year-old man who rammed into two police vehicles.
The shooting will be investigated the same way, but the prosecutor's office has to look at it in a different light.
“My analysis of the standard that is used to determine whether the officer involved shooting is a valid shoot or not in terms of whether potential charges would take place,” prosecuting attorney Joseph Brusic said.
Before police could only face criminal charges in the state of Washington, if malice was proved during the investigation.
But now, the law has gotten rid of the malice standard and added a good faith test.
“940 deals with good faith. Both objectively and subjectively with the officer and what the officer knew at the time,” Brusic said.
Which must prove if a reasonable officer would use deadly force in good faith with everything he knew at that moment.
Since this is the first known case in Washington state right now, local police said they're in new territory.
Soon to be sheriff, Robert Udell, said they'll just have to wait and see what this means going forward.
“There's a lot of details that haven't been established. I recently learned a lot of the provisions are still going to have to be interpreted and then our state criminal justice commission has to issue the standards,” he said.
I-940 is supposed to add an "independent investigation,” but Udell said there hasn't been any word on what that means yet either.
So, this shooting will still be looked at by the Yakima Valley Special Investigative Unit until that's properly defined.
But Udell said he doesn't expect many changes for police when the law is officially laid out in 2019.
“Is it going to be a lot different than we do now? Not really. The standard for police officers are very high in this state,” Udell said.
Since this is the first case under a new microscope, Udell said the ruling on this case could set precedent for future police shootings.