Officer Ryan Donald, the Olympia Police officer who shot two young men in May, won’t face reprimands from the Olympia Police Department.
Lt. Paul Lower said Donald is expected to return to work in the next few weeks.
The department issued a statement Wednesday afternoon that said an internal review board found no evidence Donald violated any department policies during the May 21 shooting.
“I thank the members of the Shooting Review Board for their time and diligence on this inquiry. This work is difficult and important to the Olympia Police Department and our community,” Police Chief Ronnie Roberts said.
Attorney Sax Rodgers, who represents Donald, said his client is “elated” at the news and looks forward to starting work again.
“He enjoys being a police officer, and he decided he wants to return to the department,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers said that Donald does, however, have some safety concerns in light of recent demonstrations and protests.
“He’s definitely concerned about his safety because people are acting on non-factual opinions,” Rodgers said. “I saw an anarchist carrying a sign saying Ryan Donald is a racist. He doesn’t even know Ryan. None of these people know him at all.”
Rodgers said that while he believes that there has been a rash of racially involved violence across the country, this case wasn’t racially motivated. Rodgers said that his client was simply responding to two men attacking him.
“This is not Ferguson, this is not the inner core of Baltimore,” Rodgers said referencing two high-profile police incidents, one in Missouri and the other Maryland, where black men died. “And I’m sure there are bad cops there who acted violently because of racism. But that’s not what happened here.”
Roberts said that although the official review has concluded, the department hopes to continue conversations with the community regarding local policing.
The internal review board was composed of five members: Deputy Chief Steve Nelson, Lt. Aaron Jelcick, Officer Jason Winter, Deputy City Attorney Steve Nelson and Edward Prince, executive director of the state Commission on African American Affairs.
According to a memorandum issued by the board, the board was tasked with answering two questions: Did the force used by Officer Donald adhere to the policies of the Olympia Police Department? And, did the actions of Officer Donald precipitate the course of events that ultimately led to the use(s) of force? If so, were those actions reasonable and appropriate?
The board unanimously ruled that Donald’s actions adhered to department policies, and that his actions did not precipitate the course of events that led to the use of force, according to the memorandum.
Meanwhile, the two men Donald shot are facing criminal charges stemming from the incident. On Sept. 22, Andre Thompson, 23, pleaded not guilty in Thurston County Superior Court to two counts of second-degree assault and Bryson Chaplin, 21, pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and one count of fourth-degree assault.
Their trial has been scheduled for the week of Dec. 14.
No criminal charges were filed against Donald.