Inquests into deaths caused by law enforcement to resume in King County

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Dow Constantine, King County Executive
After a delay of more than four years from lawsuits that led to an eventual Washington Supreme Court decision and new executive order by Executive Dow Constantine, inquests into deaths caused by law enforcement officers will resume this week in King County.

In 2018, Executive Dow Constantine paused inquests to address concerns of fairness and transparency and pushed forward with a new process built on stakeholder and community input. 

When local jurisdictions challenged the new process in court, the new program was delayed until the Washington Supreme Court reaffirmed the Executive’s order in July 2021. 

With the legal challenges concluded, King County is now set to resume the inquests to provide clarity, accountability, and closure to the public and to the families of those killed by law enforcement.

"The road has been long, but I am thankful we can begin conducting inquests and providing the public with answers,” said Executive Constantine. 
“The pandemic and legal challenges aside, building a process that the public can have faith in has been a difficult but necessary task, and I hope it can provide closure in these difficult and heartbreaking cases.”

Currently, there are 7 inquests called. Two inquests are expected to move forward in the next several months. Others will soon follow. Dozens of cases are still under review by the Prosecuting Attorney's Office for referral to the Executive for inquest proceedings to be ordered.


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