Letter to the editor

I deplore the shooting by Seattle Police of Iosia Faletogo on New Year’s Eve (IE, 1/16/19).

According to the reporting by the International Examiner, the police stopped Faletogo after he made an unsafe lane change.They then found he was driving with a suspended license.

Why is an offense like making an unsafe lane change and driving with a suspended license cause for the police pursuit which reportedly led to a struggle on the ground, then his ‘execution’ with a shot to the head.

The violent fatal outcome could have been avoided if the SPD had a policy not to engage physically with someone who is only guilty of an ‘unsafe lane change’ and driving with a suspended license, i.e., a nonviolent offense.

Had he been a suspect in a crime involving a weapon or a holdup, I can see the rationale for a chase and confrontation.

There should be an independent investigation, but the SPD needs to reconsider its policies and rationale for armed pursuit and encounter when the suspect has not committed a violent offense.

SPD needs to stop creating confrontational situations where an armed response is not needed.Seattle Police need to respect I-940 which in requiring the police to seek de-escalation practices and techniques, was not followed in this tragic incident.

It is time for people of color like Charleena Lyles and Iosia Faletogo to stop dying at the hands of the police because the police continue to be unable to respond appropriately and humanely.

Sincerely,
Patty Fong, Seattle

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