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Former Tacoma officer claims in lawsuit he was fired for not shooting to kill

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TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A former lieutenant with the Tacoma Police Department has sued the agency, alleging he was wrongfully fired because he didn’t shoot to kill a suspect.

City lawyers contend that David O’Dea was fired for violating department policies regarding the use of deadly force.

O’Dea, a 22-year police veteran and former Navy captain, tells the News Tribune that he fired at a vehicle to try to stop it and couldn’t shoot at the driver because he couldn’t risk hitting other officers. The suspect, who police officers say appeared to be having a mental health crisis, was later hit with a stun gun and arrested.

According to court records, a review board and a separate internal investigation found O’Dea didn’t follow department policy regarding deadly force. But the city does admit in court documents that the review board did not ask O’Dea any questions. O’Dea declined to be interviewed by internal affairs detectives and submitted a written statement instead.

The police chief fired O’Dea in June 2017.

O’Dea’s lawsuit filed this year in Pierce County Superior Court also alleges the internal reviews were flawed and that investigators didn’t look at the full record of the incident. The lawsuit maintains that O’Dea has suffered irreparable damage to his reputation.

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