Pierce County prosecutors investigating the police investigation into the fatal shooting of Kevin Peterson Jr. have a thorny story with one of the lawyers representing the 21-year-old black man’s family.
Peterson’s family is represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump and attorneys in Tacoma with the Herrmann Law Group. One of the attorneys is Mark Lindquist, who was Pierce County’s chief prosecutor before being deposed by former colleague Mary Robnett in November 2018.
A small team of Pierce County prosecutors, led by Chief Criminal Deputy Jim Schacht, will review the law enforcement investigation and make a legal decision on Peterson’s shooting, said office spokesman Adam Faber.
“There is no timeline for the review to complete. Our office has received a lot of evidence, but we are still waiting for certain reports like the toxicology report, the 3D scene analysis, etc., ”Faber said in an email.
Three Clark County MPs shot Peterson to death after a confidential informant, according to investigators, agreed to buy Dell Xanax pills from him outside a Quality Inn in Hazel on the evening of October 29.
The fatal shots occurred shortly before 6 p.m. in the parking lot of a closed US bank branch, 6829 NE Highway 99, next to the motel.
Peterson’s death sparked tense demonstrations in Hazel Dell and downtown Vancouver that uncovered the police murder of a black man.
Clark County Attorney Tony Golik asked Pierce County Attorneys to review the actions of MPs on the case to increase independence in the investigation.
The public prosecutor will decide whether the use of lethal force by the three MPs involved was lawful and justified. Under state law, an officer can use lethal force to arrest or arrest an individual who the officer reasonably believes has committed or attempted to commit a crime. Officials must believe that its use was necessary to prevent serious physical harm or death to themselves and others.
You will also find out whether the actions of the MPs meet the standards of “good faith”. That is, a similarly situated law enforcement officer would have used lethal force under the circumstances.
Their results will be presented in a report to Clark County.
Lindquist didn’t answer questions about Pierce County, who was conducting the review, or whether he had any idea how the case would be handled if he agreed to represent Peterson’s family.
He said his law firm is more focused on seeking justice through civil lawsuits than on the criminal side of the case.
“There are numerous examples of cases where prosecutors refused to prosecute officers but a civil lawsuit against the officers and their department was successful. Again separate actions, different standards. In addition, more information is often revealed as part of a civil lawsuit. The family lawyers tend to do what we do here: aggressively pursue the truth, ”Lindquist said.
Very personal campaign
Robnett becomes the first woman to head the Pierce County attorney’s office. Her victory as prosecutor ended Lindquist’s nine-year tenure.
She first entered the office in 1994 and, according to the office’s website, has handled robberies, murders, kidnappings and sexual assault, among other things. Her campaign website says she worked as an assistant attorney general in the sexually violent predators department for nearly six years.
Pierce County’s law enforcement agencies have strongly supported Robnett, drawing on their experience with critical cases and working with local police. The prosecutor’s website states that Robnett’s husband is a retired law enforcement officer.
The campaign was very personal, according to The News Tribune, the daily newspaper in Tacoma. Robnett had worked for the prosecutor for about 18 years. She supported Lindquist’s first campaign, and he named Robnett his chief criminal assistant when he took office. However, she left 2012 dissatisfied with his leadership.
Lindquist’s time in the prosecutor’s office included “costly litigation related to his actions, multiple allegations of misconduct by his subordinates, and an independent investigation that found a politicized, image-obsessed office fueled by intimidation and retaliation,” the newspaper reported .
Schacht, the prosecutor who led the Peterson investigation, also worked with Lindquist. The aforementioned investigation revealed that Schacht was placed in a disadvantaged position in the office after speaking out against his boss.
A veteran of the office, Schacht was named the new Assistant Attorney General after Robnett took office.