Jury finishes inquest of 2 Seattle police officers involved in fatal shooting

SEATTLE — A jury on Friday answered dozens of questions following a 2-week inquest of two Seattle police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Che Taylor.

The jury unanimously found that Officer Michael Spaulding thought that Taylor, 46, was drawing his handgun from a holster on his right hip. All eight jurors also found that Spaulding did fire his department-issued rifle at Taylor.

Seven jurors found that Taylor posed a threat of death or serious injury when Spaulding fired his gun. One juror said it was unknown.

The jury did not make any findings about criminal liability. The results of the fact-finding mission will be forwarded to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office which will determine if any legal action will be taken.

The officers were trying to arrest Taylor as a felon in unlawful possession of a firearm on Feb. 21, 2016 when they shot him. Scott Miller testified that she fired his shotgun once. Michael Spaulding fired his rifle six times.

The confrontation occurred after Taylor arrived in an area where Miller and Spaulding were looking for another man wanted on drug warrants.

Here are some other jury votes:

Did Officer Scott Miller verbally identify himself as police when he approached Che Taylor?
Yes: 2 No: 0 Unknown: 6

Did Officer Michael Spaulding verbally identify himself as police when he approached Che Taylor?
Yes: 0 No: 5 Unknown: 3

Did Officer Scott Miller observe Che Taylor wearing a holster with handgun on his right hip when Taylor exited the car?
Yes: 6 No: 0 Unknown: 2

Did Officer Michael Spaulding observe Che Taylor wearing a holstered handgun on his right hip when Taylor exited the car?
Yes: 0 No: 8 Unknown: 0

The trial

Earlier this week, one of the officers who fatally shot a man said he clearly saw the man carrying a gun within 45 minutes of the confrontation.

The Seattle Times reported that during testimony before a King County inquest jury both Officer Scott Miller and Officer Michael Spaulding testified they saw Taylor reach for a gun before shooting him.

Taylor’s family and supporters have condemned the shooting and disputed the police account.