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King County Executive
Dow Constantine

Inquest ordered into fatal police shooting on Seattle’s Beacon Hill


King County Executive Dow Constantine has ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of Austin Derby.


King County Executive Dow Constantine has ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of Austin Derby by a Seattle Police officer on July 1, 2014.

According to the police investigation, a high-speed chase from Tacoma ended on Seattle’s Beacon Hill, where police say the 36-year-old man hid inside a shed at a home near S. Eddy and 23rd Ave. S. Police say the man pointed a realistic-looking pellet gun at officers and police fired, fatally wounding Derby.

The King County Prosecutor’s office recommended the inquest after reviewing materials from the Seattle Police Department, which conducted the investigation.

Inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury. Under a standing Executive Order, inquests are convened to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of any law enforcement agency within King County while in the performance of his or her duties.

Inquests provide transparency into law enforcement actions so the public may have all the facts established in a court of law. The ordering of an inquest should carry no other implication. Inquest jurors answer a series of interrogatories to determine the significant factual issues involved in the case, and it is not their purpose to determine whether any person or agency is civilly or criminally liable.

The order signed by the Executive requests King County District Court Presiding Judge Corinna Harn to assign a judge to set a date and conduct the inquest.

The ordering of inquests is a function vested in the county executive under the King County Code.

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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