Prosecutor: No criminal charges in Clemmons' death
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said no criminal charges will be filed against the Seattle police officer who fatally shot Maurice Clemmons in December.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Less than a week after an inquest jury found that Seattle police Officer Benjamin L. Kelly believed he was in imminent danger when he fatally shot Maurice Clemmons, the King County prosecutor followed up with an announcement Tuesday that criminal charges were not warranted in the case.
Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, in a statement, said Kelly should be "recognized for his courage in response to a dangerous situation."
While Satterberg's ruling was expected, office spokesman Dan Donohoe said having the county prosecutor review inquest findings is "standard operating procedure" after a fatal police shooting.
In King County, inquests are fact-finding hearings regularly held after a police officer uses lethal force while on duty. After an inquest jury returns their findings to a series of questions — chief among them is whether an officer believed he was in imminent danger when the suspect was killed — Satterberg conducts a separate review to determine whether any criminal charges are warranted.
During a 1 ½-day hearing last week, Kelly told inquest jurors that he confronted Clemmons on a South Seattle street in the early morning of Dec. 1, two days after Clemmons ambushed four Lakewood police officers in a Pierce County coffee shop.
Kelly testified he warned Clemmons several times to show his hands before he fired.
Clemmons, who was armed, died at the scene.
"Seattle Police Officer Benjamin Kelly was performing his duty as a police officer when he responded to Maurice Clemmons with deadly force. Clemmons was a danger to Kelly, other members of law enforcement and the general public," Satterberg said.
Killed in the Parkland coffee shop Nov. 29 were Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger and Officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards. Richards managed to wound Clemmons.
Jurors declined to talk to the media after their findings were announced last Wednesday, but Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Richardson said the panel thought Kelly acted appropriately.
After the jury decision was announced, Kelly said he hoped the findings bring "some closure to the families of the Lakewood officers."
Seattle police declined to comment Tuesday on Satterberg's decision.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
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