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Families of those killed by police to get attorneys

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SEATTLE  — The Metropolitan King County Council has unanimously adopted legislation to provide publicly funded legal representation during inquest proceedings to families of those killed as the result of police use of deadly force.

The Seattle Times reports the council's action Monday comes as a special committee appointed by King County Executive Dow Constantine has been asked to consider whether broader changes are needed in the county's inquest system.

The committee's report is due in March.

The ordinance calls for the county's Department of Public Defense to provide attorneys to families participating in inquests no matter their financial status. Families could opt not to be represented.

The county won't pay for outside attorneys, which could be used if families choose that option.

The Department of Public Defense has informed the county it can do the work with existing staff.

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