It saddened me to hear that the shooting of David Covarrubias was determined to be justified by our Pierce County prosecutor (TNT, 7-24).
Covarrubias was unarmed and at a distance from both police officers on scene. The word “justified” should never be used to describe a death where the facts demonstrate there was no imminent danger, regardless of what may have been in the mind of the police officers.
A determination that the police officers were not guilty of manslaughter due to the extenuating circumstances of aberrant behavior or a perceived object in the victim’s hand may have been a reasonable finding. Even so I would hope that whenever this happens again, then fatal shootings will always be found unacceptable.
Perhaps saying the shooting was justified protects the county from lawsuit or was necessary for some other legal reason. Yet the wording also defies what happens in our criminal justice system.
A defendant is either not guilty or guilty, but never found innocent. Likewise, as honorable as our Lakewood police are, they are not innocent or justified in the killing of an unarmed person when there is no imminent danger, regardless of what was in their minds.
Robert F. Harrison