[Artwork by: Agnostic Trek]
The Olympia Police Department has identified the four officers involved in a shooting nearly two weeks ago that led to the death of 37-year-old Timothy Green.
The officers are Acting Sgt. Joseph Bellamy, officer Caleb Shaffer, officer Jordan Anderson, and officer Brenda Anderson. Their names were given to The Olympia Tribune in response to a records request and subsequently released to the public Friday.
“Because of ongoing community interest and to ensure transparency with the public following the recent fulfillment of a Public Disclosure Request (by the Olympia Tribune), we are sharing the names of the Olympia Police officers who were placed on administrative leave following the August 22 officer-involved shooting, Allen said.
On Friday, Allen declined to respond to a request made directly to him to name the officer who fired the fatal shot. The Tribune has filed a records request for the name and information on the four officers’ hiring dates and disciplinary records.
Green, a Black man who has posted openly on social media regarding his mental health issues, died after being shot multiple times during an incident on August 22 near one of the city’s busiest intersections. His death has led to two peaceful protests outside City Hall, and demands for answers about whether the city’s Crisis Response Unit was called to the scene, what de-escalation techniques police used before the shots were fired, and decrying the use of deadly force.
The family this week released a statement saying they had long-feared this outcome for their son and brother.
“As a family, we have dreaded the possibility that Tim would meet this very outcome. We have read the accounts of other individuals in mental health crises … We know that people who have mental health issues are at a higher risk of being killed by police and this is even more so for Black men like Tim,” the statement said.
The shooting occurred in a parking lot near Sleater Kinney Road and Martin Way after police reportedly responded to a man who had been disruptive in two businesses. Employees in one of those stores pepper-sprayed him “to force him to exit the store,” according to a news release from Capital Metro Independent Investigations Team, which has been called in to investigate the shooting. No Olympia Police Department staff are part of that team.
The release said Green moved out of the roadway and into the parking lot, and that Green was walking toward police with “a knife in one hand and a book in the other,” and police told him to drop the knife several times. When he did not, two officers used tasers, “but neither was effective.” The release does not make clear if the Tasers failed or if they did not stop Green. It says when Green still failed to stop and drop the knife, the officer, a three-year veteran of the department, shot him. The two Tasers and what later was described as a “folding knife” were recovered from the scene. The release does not say what happened to the book or give its’ title.
Green later died at Providence St. Peter Hospital from what the Thurston County Coroner described as “multiple gunshot wounds.”
The department has two policies regarding the use of force. One discusses the use of force, specifically deadly force, and the other discusses “equipment and proficiency.”
In 2019, the last year for which a report on the police department’s use of force is available, shows 65 times in which it was used, and notes no deadly force incidents.
State law also governs the use of deadly force, enacted in 2021 after multiple lethal police shootings around the state. A summary of the law says in part, “A peace officer may use deadly force against another person only when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to the officer or another person. ‘Necessary’ means that, under the totality of the circumstances, a reasonably effective alternative to the use of deadly force does not exist, and that the amount of force used was a reasonable and proportional response to the threat posed to the officer and others.
“ ‘Imminent threat of serious physical injury or death’ means that, based on the totality of the circumstances, it is objectively reasonable to believe that a person has the present and apparent ability, opportunity, and intent to immediately cause death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or another person. ‘Totality of the circumstances’ means all facts known to the peace officer leading up to and at the time of the use of force, and includes the actions of the person against whom the peace officer uses such force, and the actions of the peace officer.”
The state Attorney General’s Office recently issued “model rules” on police use of force. They say when possible, all available and appropriate de-escalation tactics should be used, and the “characteristics and conditions of a person” should be considered when determining whether to use physical force or deadly force. These include if a person is known or appears to be a vulnerable adult as defined by state law, displays signs of mental, behavioral, intellectual, developmental, or physical impairments or disabilities; or is “experiencing perceptual or cognitive impairments typically related to the use of alcohol,” among other factors.
By December 1, all local law enforcement agencies must either adopt a use of force policy consistent with those rules or explain to the Attorney General’s Office why their rules are not the same as in the model policy.
The CMITT had steadfastly refused to release the names of the officers involved, saying it would do so at a later date, and has maintained it is the sole point of information during the investigation. CMITT spokeswoman Laura Wohl said Friday regarding the release of the names by the chief: “There has been no change in protocol. The CMIIT releases information regarding the investigation. The involved agency may release the names of their employees at their own discretion.”
Meanwhile, the CMITT has given its first weekly status report on the case. It noted:
- The Thurston County Coroner’s Office completed the autopsy.
- Detectives are identifying and interviewing witnesses and examining evidence.
- The CMITT has established a liaison with Green’s family, as required by state rules.
- The family and the City of Olympia Community Representatives
are being updated about the investigation progress on a regular basis.