State law gives county coroners broad authority to hold inquests into deaths which occur in their jurisdictions. An inquest is an administrative, fact-finding inquiry into the manner, facts, and circumstances of a death. In King County, the function of holding inquests is vested with the King County Executive.
Under an Order issued by the King County Executive, there shall be an inquest into the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of law enforcement in the course of their duties. The purpose of an inquest is to shed light, in an open public forum, on the facts surrounding a death at the hands of law enforcement. A further purpose is to promote public understanding of these events in our community.
By executive order, inquests are managed by the Department of Executive Services and conducted by Inquest Administrators.
Status of the Inquest Program
The Inquest Program has resumed at the direction of the Washington State Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has remanded, or sent back, the case of the Family of Damarius Butts to King County. Inquests will resume as soon as scheduling with involved parties permits.
Updates will be posted to the pages for each individual inquest.