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First coroner’s inquest jury finds police acted within the law in Damarius Butts shooting

A coroner’s inquest jury, required under a new law in King County, Washington, has determined the four police officers involved in the 2017 shooting of Damarius Butts acted within the law, but could not determine whether the police or Butts fired their weapons first.

A new law enacted in July 2021 allows families of those killed in altercations involving law enforcement more avenues to seek police accountability.

The law requires any death involving law enforcement to be subject to a coroner’s inquest jury, which assists the coroner in confirming the facts of the case. 

The inquest jury in the Damarius Butts case found on Monday that all four Seattle police officers involved in Butts’ death acted reasonably and within the constraints of the law, and that the officers had reason to believe their lives and the lives of others were in danger during the incident.

Testimony in the hearings by a medical examiner showed Butts was shot 11 times, causing serious damage to several internal organs and his spine. The evidence also showed Butts’ gun was fired 4 times during the altercation.

ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: SEATTLE TIMES

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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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