Kent Police Officer William Davis believed Giovonn Joseph-McDade posed a threat of death or serious bodily injury before Davis fatally shot him, a King County inquest jury decided.
The six-member jury answered a series of questions after hearing testimony from Davis and witnesses during the three-day inquest in front of King County District Court Judge Susan Mahoney at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. The jury’s answers were released on Wednesday by the District Court.
All six jurors answered yes to the question that at the time Officer Davis fired his weapon did he believe Joseph-McDade posed a threat of death or serious bodily injury to himself or others?
Joseph-McDade, 20, of Auburn, died June 24, from multiple gunshot wounds after he reportedly tried to use his vehicle to run over Davis after a short pursuit on the East Hill that ended on a residential cul-de-sac at 99th Avenue South and South 244th Street. Joseph-McDade is a former football player and student at Kent-Meridian High School.
Sonia Joseph, the mother of Joseph-McDade, walked out of court on the first day of the hearing Monday in protest of the process. She had asked the judge for a continuance in the case so that an attorney could represent the family during the inquest. Judge Mahoney denied the request.
An inquest requires jurors to determine facts in a case involving a police shooting. Jurors do not determine fault, money damages or policy reviews. Inquests are to provide transparency into law enforcement actions so the public may have all the facts established in a court of law.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will review the information from the investigation, led by Des Moines Police, and the findings of the inquest to make an independent determination regarding whether or not criminal charges are warranted. That decision is expected to take a week or two.
County Executive Dow Constantine announced Dec. 12 that he will create a six-member King County Inquest Process Review Committee to review and re-examine the public fact-finding forum to investigate the circumstances surrounding law enforcement shooting deaths.