Breaking News
More () »

These 11 Washingtonians will help the state investigate police use of force cases

The advisory board is a new office created to conduct independent investigations of cases involving police use of force.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The deadly shooting by a Snoqualmie/North Bend police officer comes just days after Gov. Jay Inslee announced the names of the 11 people who will serve on the Office of Independent Investigation advisory board.

The Office of Independent Investigation will be a statewide office with people of different backgrounds, some law enforcement, some not, that will look into use-of-force cases in Washington state. 

The goal is, in the future, for the office to be involved in cases just like that of a shooting at Torguson Park Tuesday night in which an officer shot and killed a man after an alleged struggle. The King County Independent Force Investigation Team is handling the investigation.

“What we hope to do with the Office of Police Independent Investigations is have teams come out and start an investigation so that it is independent of the police department that was involved in the shooting,” said Rep. Debra Entenmen (D-Kent).

Entenmen backed the bill that created the office and said a group of people from different backgrounds is vital to creating fair investigations. 

“I think we need to take a second look at how we are policing and a second look at how investigations happen. And also, it is really important to say, should an investigation go forward with trying to justify the shooting to protect the police officer? Or should the investigation move forward to find out why the shooting occurred?” she said.

Inslee requested the creation of the office based on recommendations from the 2020 task force following the deaths of George Floyd and Manuel Ellis.

The advisory board will provide advice and input to the director on the creation and operation of the office.

Eleven members have been appointed to serve on the advisory board:

  • Monica Alexander, Tacoma, member of the Criminal Justice Training Commission
  • Breean Beggs, Spokane, defense attorney representative
  • Eric Drever, Tukwila, sheriff or police chief representative who is also a member of an Independent Investigation Team (co-chair)
  • Norma Gallegos, Leavenworth, general public member
  • Anthony Golik, Battle Ground, prosecuting attorney representative
  • Philip Harju, Olympia, federally recognized tribal member
  • Monisha Harrell, Lynnwood, general public member
  • Susie Kroll, Monroe, mental health expert
  • Faapouaita Leapai, Burien, general public member
  • James Schrimpsher, Algona, representative of a police labor association
  • Fred Thomas, Tacoma, general public member representing an impacted family (co-chair)