King County Executive Dow Constantine on Monday ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of Isaiah Obet, 25, by Auburn Police on June 10, 2017.
The purpose of inquests is to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of law enforcement within King County while performing his or her duty.
A pool of retired judges serves as pro tem inquest administrators to oversee the process. King County Superior Court provides a courtroom as required by state law. A staff attorney hired on a pro tem basis assists the administrators and will run the proceedings. The chief law enforcement officer of the involved agency will testify about the department’s use of force policy and training.
A jury of no more than six will be asked to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the death. Instead of being asked whether the officer had reason to fear for their life, jurors will now be asked to determine whether the officer’s actions complied with department training and policy.
“We’ve been involved with inquests for years, and so they become part of the landscape for us here in King County,” said Auburn Police Chief Bill Pierson. “In this county, it’s almost as if it’s automatic. It’s almost every single time. It’s a hearing done by a hearing examiner, and it’s really just to air the facts, and make a determination on the cause of death.”