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Public Integrity Team - Prosecuting Attorney's Office

Learn more about the team that reviews officer-involved shootings, incidents of police use-of-force, and in-custody deaths.

Created in 2021, The Public Integrity Team of the King County Prosecutor's Office (KCPAO) has two important duties:

  1. Assist in the independent investigation of police use-of-force cases that result in:
    • Death
    • Substantial physical injury
    • In-custody deaths
  2. Analyze if the police action was justified or if criminal charges should be filed.

Check the investigation status and reports for police use-of-force and in-custody deaths

Our team often goes to crime scenes and works with various agencies throughout the course of their investigations.

What we do

Our team consists of veteran deputy prosecuting attorneys. We are on-call and available 24/7 to respond to police use-of-force cases and in-custody deaths in King County. We work with the independent law enforcement investigative team, medical examiner, forensic scientists, and others involved in the investigation. We verify that the investigation team follows required laws and procedures for an independent, transparent, and thorough investigation.

A member of our team may assist in:

  • Preparing search warrants or other legal process
  • Providing legal advice to investigators
  • Coordinating and participating in witness interviews
  • Organizing expert testing or review
King County Prosecuting Attorney's badge

Once the investigation is complete, the assigned deputy prosecutor reviews the investigation to determine if sufficient evidence exists to file criminal charges or if the use of force appears justified and our office will decline to file charges. We also prepare a memorandum detailing the investigation and analysis.

In those cases, in which there is insufficient evidence to support criminal charges, we refer the investigation to the King County Executive for an inquest when required by Executive Order PHL 7-1-5 (291KB).

We also work with community partners, law enforcement, and other invested parties on collateral issues. This includes law enforcement training, public policy on use-of-force, and legislative needs. After an inquest, we will review the inquest results to see if additional admissible evidence was developed that may impact our previous analysis of the case.

Investigations sent to KCPAO for review

Who we work with

Our team works closely with the two Independent Investigation Teams in King County.

These two teams cover every law enforcement agency in King County, except the Seattle Police Department (SPD). Currently, SPD is governed by the Consent Decree and uses a different process for use-of-force case investigations.

The Independent Investigation Teams in King County are:

  1. The King County Independent Force Investigation Team (IFIT-KC).
    This team is made up largely of agencies from the eastside of King County, the Washington State Patrol, and the King County Sheriff’s Office.
  2. The Valley Independent Investigations Team (VIIT).
    This team is made up largely of agencies from the south end of King County.

Members of the involved agency cannot aid the investigation.

Team background

Before 2018, to convict an officer of homicide, the State had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer acted with “malice.” In 2018, Initiative 940 (253KB) removed the "malice" language. It is replaced with a "good faith" test to determine whether the use of deadly force was reasonable and justifiable.

RCW 10.114.011, in 2019, and WAC Chapter 139-12, in 2020, require independent investigations. The independent investigators and our team apply best practices developed for homicide investigations in their investigations into use-of-force cases resulting in death or substantial bodily injury.

The Public Integrity Team was established in response to these legal changes for a thorough, prompt, and transparent review of these important cases.