Seattle, WA – The Seattle Police Department has opened a criminal investigation after two police officers opened fire on a car Oct. 8 after the driver suddenly drove toward them. (Video below)
The investigation will determine whether it was a criminal act when the officers fired dozens of rounds at the stolen vehicle as it sped away, the Seattle Times reported.
The Seattle police are also investigating whether department policy was followed by the officers.
Officers Kenneth Martin and Tabitha Sexton fired at the black Impreza after responding to a suspicious vehicle call.
In the video, the officers ask, “Is that them right there?”
The officers yelled for the suspect to get on the ground but the suspect then fled.
Four officers are seen on the video chasing the vehicle.
One of the officers stood in front of the car and had to move out of the way as the car pulled out and moved down an alley.
With the thief choosing to drive his vehicle into the officer, the cops opened fire.
The vehicle stopped twice, but continued on and drive off.
Nobody appears to have been hit by the bullets. The suspects were later arrested a few days later with the help of U.S. Marshals.
A law enforcement source told the Seattle Times the issue is whether the second round of bullets fired by the police officer rose to the level of possible criminal conduct.
The second volley of bullets would likely fall under the Tennesee v Garner rule which requires officers give a verbal warning before shooting, if feasible.
If the officers are charged, the court may need to determine if the first volley of bullets constitutes enough of a warning.
The Seattle Times also cited the police department manual that stated officers shouldn’t fire at a moving vehicle “unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle.”
The manual also said that a moving vehicle itself is not “presumptively constitute a threat that justifies” deadly force.
The criminal investigation will be completed within a week and submitted to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Even if the officers are not criminally charged, they still face discipline if it's determined that they violated department policy.
Martin, 27, was hired by the police department in 2015. Sexton, 32, was hired in 2007. Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Watch the video below: