An inquest was convened by King County into the March 22, 2013 death of Russell Smith. The inquest proceedings are an important public process. The inquest jury heard three and one half days of testimony before answering a series of questions related to the events that transpired on March 22, 2013. Today, the inquest jury concluded that each of the three involved Bellevue police officers were warranted in their use of deadly force when Mr. Smith failed to comply with police commands and instead tried to use his car as a deadly weapon.
Any loss of life is a tragedy; however, Law enforcement officers are the front line in the fight to protect citizens from harm, and to preserve public order. No law enforcement officer ever wants to be involved in a lethal use of force. Police are charged with investigating, deterring and preventing criminal activity. Russell Smith was a dangerous felon who was wanted for a string of armed robberies. Instead of complying with police commands and surrendering, he tried to use his car as a deadly weapon against the officers. Mr. Smith was shot as a result of his own decisions.
Chief Pillo has ordered that a firearms review board convene to determine if the officers' actions related to this shooting followed Bellevue Police Department Policy. That board will be made up of a Deputy Chief, the Commander of our training unit, the Commander of our Patrol Section, and the Department Legal Advisor. The Firearms Review Board is scheduled to meet early next week. We will have no further statement until after the Firearms Review Board releases its findings.
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