Seattle Police Chief Overturns Pierce Murphy's Findings of Officer Misconduct in Shooting Incident 

click to enlarge Former Boise Police Ombudsman Pierce Murphy, who now serves Seattle in a similar oversight capacity. - SEATTLE OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
  • Seattle Office of Professional Accountability
  • Former Boise Police Ombudsman Pierce Murphy, who now serves Seattle in a similar oversight capacity.


Pierce Murphy, the man who served as Boise's police ombudsman for 14 years, may not have made a lot of "besties" in the Seattle Police Department when he took over the city's Office of Professional Accountability in 2013. But that's not his job. He's expected to investigate complaints against the police department, reporting directly to the mayor and city council.

In a rare move, the chief of the SPD reversed Murphy's findings of misconduct against three officers, who responded to shots fired by discharging their weapons into a vehicle that they mistakenly believed was the source of the gunfire.

The December 31, 2015 incident was captured on patrol car video. The Seattle Times reports Murphy said there was "insufficient evidence to show the officers had a reasonable basis to believe anyone in the car posed an imminent threat of death of serious injury," and therefore the officers were found to be in violation of department policy regarding the use of deadly force. Murphy suggested 15-day suspensions without pay for each officer.


Meanwhile, The Times reports SPD Chief Kathleen O'Toole reversed those findings in her own letter to the mayor and Seattle City Council, saying she would have acted in the same way as her officers.

In January, The Stranger reported Murphy was targeted in a blog post from the Seattle Police Officers Guild, calling him a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and adding the hashtag: #sendhimbacktoBoise.

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