SPD: No dashcam video available of officer-involved shooting

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Police Department has acknowledged that it doesn't have any video of an encounter in which officers shot and killed a mentally disturbed man in February.

The department says 11 officers responded in 10 cruisers, and half of those police cars had their dashboard cameras running. But because they were responding to what was reported as a hostage situation, they didn't park right at the scene and their cameras didn't capture the encounter with 21-year-old Jack Sun Keewatinawin.

Ultimately suspect Keewatinawin was shot when police say he raised a large metal bar or rod as he approached an officer who had fallen down. The department's Firearms Review Board found the shooting justified.

But when family members wanted to view the police dash cam video of the incident?

"There doesn't seem to be any digital in-car video that was taken during the shooting," said Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell. "And of course we like to use our technology so it does raise several issues as to why it was not activated."

All Seattle police patrol cars have been outfitted with dashboard camera since 2007. SPD says the cameras on the closest five cruisers were not turned on -- they say some of the officers had not been trained to use the cameras, while others responded to the incident at the start of their shifts and didn't have time to synchronize the camera systems before driving to the urgent call.

In a letter obtained by the Problem Solvers, Harrell asks Acting Chief Jim Pugel about significant concerns because of the Keewatinawin shooting and wants to know why no video was available.

"Now we're gonna second-guess what happened without the video equipment in place," Harrell said. "That's not a good thing."

Harrell is also pushing for police to start using body cams -- or tiny cameras attached to an officers shirt front. So far, the Seattle Police Guild has not been in favor of the idea.