The Seattle Human Rights Commission is demanding that the King County Sheriff's Office release details related to the death of Renee Davis, a 23-year-old pregnant woman and Muckleshoot tribal member, who was shot and killed by King County Sheriff's Office deputies after they went to her home on tribal lands for a wellness check last Friday.
"Few police officers throughout our state and country are well trained on how to recognize and interact with people living with depression and similar conditions," the Commission said in the statement. "The Commission demands transparency in the release of details that led deputies to kill Renee Davis after her family called them to do a wellness check on their loved one. We also recommend that the King County Sheriff’s Office release data regarding how they train their officers to respond to citizens in need of wellness checks."
On Tuesday, King County Sheriff John Urquhart identified the two officers involved in the shooting.
They are Nicholas Prichett, a deputy who has been with the department eight years, and Tim Lewis, who has been with the department for three. Both have been placed on administrative leave. The King County Sheriff's Office says that the two were dispatched to Davis's home after they received a report that she was suicidal. The Sheriff's Office also says that Davis had two young children with her and was armed; Davis's foster sister told the Seattle Times, however, that she didn't know if Davis owned a handgun.
According to the Guardian's count of police-involved shootings in the United States, police have shot and killed 15 Native American citizens this year.
We've reached out to the King County Sheriff's Office for a response and will update when we hear back.
Update, 5:03 PM: King County Sheriff John Urquhart says that the details of the shooting—as well as information about how the department handles welfare checks—will be released Monday, October 31.
Urquhart also clarified that one of the officers involved in the shooting was contracted with the Muckleshoot Tribe for police services. (The Muckleshoot do not have their own police force; this is why they contract with outside law enforcement.)
Right now, the shooting is being investigated by King County's Major Crimes Unit. When the county finishes its investigation of the police-involved shooting, Urquhart said, the case will be sent to the Prosecutor's Office for review. Urquhart added that the shooting is being investigated from an administrative perspective to see if department protocol was followed or if training needs to be changed or augmented.
"I’ve said that at this point we will continue with our investigation of the shooting, but it is up to the Muckleshoot Tribe if they would like another entity to take over, presumably the FBI," Urquhart said. "I said the FBI could take over completely or they could shadow our detectives. It is up to the Tribe and the FBI to make that call. I am amenable to whatever they would like."