By Janine Unsoeld
Many individuals and community groups are working harder than ever on issues and conversations about race, racism and police issues ever since the Olympia police officer involved shooting of two young African American men on May 21.
Those conversations are expected to intensify.
An Olympia Police Department (OPD) shooting review board issued its conclusion on Wednesday afternoon that no policies had been violated by Officer Ryan Donald during the incident. Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts reviewed the Board’s decision and concurred.
The board determined that Officer Donald’s actions were within policy and that they did not precipitate the use of force. The decision was unanimous. According to the release, Officer Donald will return to duty in the next few weeks.
“Because of the trauma of the event and the length of his absence, the Department has a plan to reintegrate Officer Donald before assigning his routine duties,” it states.
The review board was comprised of OPD Deputy Chief Steve Nelson, OPD Lieutenant Aaron Jelcick, Deputy City Attorney Darren Nienaber, OPD Officer Jason Winner and Executive Director for the Commission of African American Affairs Edward Prince.
In a brief memorandum from Lt. Aaron Jelcick to Chief Roberts, Jelcick says that between September 21 and 29, the group reviewed more than 600 pages of investigative reports.
On September 29, the group visited the site of the shooting near Cooper Point Road on Olympia’s westside and interviewed Officer Donald.
Chief Roberts stated, “Although the review process is complete, our conversations about this incident - our conversations about our police department and our community - are very important to us and will be on-going for some time to come. As an agency, we pride ourselves on being open, honest and transparent in what we do and how we do it. We hope that we’ve proved that to you again during this difficult time.
“Amongst many different venues, you can find us talking with you in your neighborhoods, schools, faith groups, business groups, civic organizations and government assemblies. Please join us in these important conversations so that we can be the type of agency that you would like to see serving our community.”
For a copy of the official memorandum from the shooting review board follow this link and more detailed information about the Shooting Review Board, go to: http://olympiawa.gov/city-services/police-department/news-and-notifications/officer-involved-shooting.aspx
Ad Hoc Committee on Policing and Community Relations
The next meeting of the city’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Policing and Community Relations is Monday, October 5, 5:30 p.m. at Olympia City Hall, in the council chambers.
The committee will host a public community forum on Saturday, October 10, 1:00-5:00 p.m., at Risen Faith Fellowship, 2129 E 4th St, Olympia.
For more information about the Olympia Police Department, the officer involved shooting on May 21, the Ad-Hoc Committee on Policing and Community Relations and other police related news, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com or the City of Olympia website at www.olympiawa.gov.