Panel recommends overhaul of police deadly-force inquests

Woman killed in drive-by shooting near Eatonville

SEATTLE (AP) – A committee in King County is calling for significant changes in the way inquests into the police use of deadly force are conducted.

The Seattle Times reported Monday that in an 89-page report, the review committee recommended that county judges and prosecutors no longer oversee inquests and that they be replaced with hearing examiners and staff attorneys.

Jurors also should be given the opportunity to hear summary statements from various attorneys, including those representing the families of those killed by police. The move would add a debate element to a narrow process that has been seen by some as biased toward law enforcement.

Inquests in King County were put on hold in January pending the committee’s review and recommendations for potential reforms.

King County Executive Dow Constantine says he plans to review the report and seek public comment before making changes.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com