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Russell D. Hauge Prosecuting Attorney
Carol I. Maves Office Administrator Ione S. George Case Management Division Chief Timothy A. Drury Felony and Juvenile Division Chief Claire A. Bradley District/Municipal Division Chief Jacquelyn M. Aufderheide Civil/Child Support Division Chief
TO: Port Gamble Public Safety Department, Suquamish Police Department, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Kitsap Sun, Kitsap Newspaper Group FROM: REPLY TO: CC: DATE: RE: Russell D. Hauge, Prosecuting Attorney Adult Criminal & Administrative Divisions Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Council February 3, 2012 Decline Discussion, Dec. 8, 2011 Officer-Involved Shooting
At approximately ten minutes to three on the afternoon of December 8, 2011, Officers of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Police Department, the Suquamish Tribal Police Department, and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office gathered outside the residence at 18636 Second Ave. NE in Suquamish, Washington. They were there to arrest Stacy Callihoo, a forty-two-year-old male with a long history of serious and violent criminal offenses. The officers had a warrant for his arrest and solid information that he was inside the residence. Four officers entered the residence and noted a male subject sitting on a couch or bed across the room. This subject had his hands partially obscured by blankets and pillows. The officers ordered him to show his hands— repeatedly. The officers were clearly identified as law enforcement personnel and made reasonable and clear demands consistent with protecting themselves and any other occupants of the residence. The subject made eye contact with the officers but did not comply. Instead, keeping his hands down in front of him and out of sight, he made a sudden, furtive gesture, consistent with reaching for a weapon. Reasonably fearing for his safety, the officer in the lead position, Det. Greg Graves of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Police Department, fired his service weapon at the subject. The subject was struck twice and died as a result of his wounds. Under Washington law, this shooting by Det. Graves was a justified use of deadly force. This conclusion rests on the investigation conducted by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. One of the pieces of evidence collected and analyzed in that investigation was a video tape of the officers’ contact with the deceased. A Suquamish officer was
Adult Criminal & Administrative Divisions • 614 Division Street, MS-35 • Port Orchard, Washington 98366-4681 • (360) 337-7174 • FAX (360) 337-4949 Juvenile Criminal Division • 614 Division Street, MS-35 • Port Orchard, Washington 98366-4681 • (360) 337-5500 • FAX (360) 337-4949 Special Assault Unit • 614 Division Street, MS-35 • Port Orchard, Washington 98366-4681 • (360) 337-7148 • FAX (360) 337-4949 Bainbridge Island Municipal Court Division • 614 Division Street, MS-35 • Port Orchard, Washington 98366 • (360) 337-7174 • FAX (360) 337-4949 Port Orchard Municipal Court Division • 614 Division Street, MS-35 • Port Orchard, Washington 98366-4681 • (360) 337-7174 • FAX (360) 337-4949 Poulsbo Municipal Court Division • 614 Division Street, MS-35 • Port Orchard, Washington 98366-4681 • (360) 337-7174 • FAX (360) 337-4949 Civil Division • 614 Division Street, MS-35A • Port Orchard, Washington 98366-4681 • (360) 337-4992 • FAX (360) 337-7083 Child Support Division • 614 Division Street, MS-35B • Port Orchard, Washington 98366-4681 • (360) 337-7020 • FAX (360) 337-5733
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wearing “vest cam,” a small portable video and sound recorder attached to the front of her uniform. The tape covers the transaction from initial confrontation to shooting. The warrant for Callihoo's arrest was issued on November 30, 2011, by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Court. Callihoo had violated probation conditions imposed after his conviction for Indecent Liberties and Assault. Callihoo is a Native American and subject to the jurisdiction of that court. He is also well known to the Suquamish tribal justice system and the courts of the State of Washington. His criminal record includes arrests and convictions for violent, drug and property crimes going back to 1987. He is considered dangerous, presenting a high likelihood of resisting arrest. The information that Callihoo was at the Suquamish address was developed by the Suquamish Police Department. Reliable informants had identified the house as a center for illegal drug trafficking. Callihoo was known to have a relationship with one of the residents of the house, Shari Black. The Suquamish Police received information from a trusted source that Callihoo and others were at the residence on the afternoon of December 8, 2011. Knowing that he was subject to a Port Gamble S’Klallam arrest warrant, the Suquamish P.D. notified the Port Gamble Police Department of Callihoo’s presence on the Suquamish reservation. Officer Michael Hultberg and Det. Graves of Port Gamble were detailed to respond. They reported to the Suquamish Police Department offices early in the afternoon on Dec. 8, 2011. There they met with Suquamish Police Department Officers and two Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies to develop a plan to arrest Callihoo. The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputies were on duty and assigned to patrol the northern part of the County. It is the standard practice of all three law enforcement agencies to provide direct, mutual support when dealing with a potentially violent offender like Callihoo. Callihoo’s violent criminal history heavily influenced the plan that was made for his arrest. He had convictions for, among other offenses, Robbery in the First Degree, Assault, Attempting to Elude Pursuing Police, Obstructing Law Enforcement, and Resisting Arrest. All of the police officers involved in this incident were graduates of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission Academy. This training dictates that extreme caution should be used when apprehending a fugitive with a history of violent crimes and resisting arrest. It was determined that three officers would approach the residence: Det. Graves of Port Gamble, Sgt. Swift Sanchez of the Suquamish Police Department, and Det. Gary Drake of the Suquamish P.D. Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputies Michael Grant and David Fortenbacher would stand by
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near the entrance. Other units of the Suquamish Police Department and the Port Gamble Police would secure the perimeter of the house and grounds. At approximately ten minutes to three on the afternoon of Dec. 8, Det. Graves, Sgt. Sanchez, and Det. Drake approached the entrance. The critical events of this transaction—the initial contact with the occupants of the dwelling through the officers’ retreat from the house after shots were fired—were captured on the personal video camera worn by Sgt. Sanchez. The visual recording is spotty. Sgt. Sanchez had the camera attached to her uniform and was not in a position to choose the images and frame the action. Moreover, the light in the interior of the dwelling was very dim. The audio portion of the recording is clearer. Most importantly, the recording captures the action in real time. We have prepared a table showing the order of the critical events and the intervals between them. That table is attached as an appendix at the end of this document. The three members of the entry team stepped up onto the porch, knocked on the front door, identified themselves, and asked the occupants to come out. The front entrance consisted of a glass sliding door screened on the inside by a blanket hung like a curtain. All three officers were wearing clothing that clearly identified them as law enforcement. Shari Black, the regular resident of the dwelling, answered the door. At the officers’ request, she exited the house, closing the sliding door behind her. She was escorted away from the porch/entryway of the dwelling. Her small dog followed her outside. She asked if her dog could be let back in the house. Det. Graves opened the door and pulled back the window covering so the dog could reenter. When the sliding door opened, Det. Graves noted another person, a large male, seated on a bed or couch on the other side of the room just beyond the door. And the officers had good reason to believe that the fugitive Callihoo was still inside. The officers made repeated demands for the remaining occupants of the house to come out but received no response. They prepared to enter the residence. Because of Callihoo’s violent history, all drew weapons. Detective Graves, in the lead, drew his pistol. The next two officers in line, Sgt. Sanchez and Detective Drake of Suquamish, had their tasers out. They opened the door, pointed their weapons at the subject on the couch across the room, identified themselves, and demanded—forcefully—that he raise his hands. The subject, later identified as Thomas Black, a forty-four-year-old white male, was approximately five yards from the officers as they entered the dwelling. It was light
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outside, and at least one lamp was on in the room. All the entering officers were clearly identified as police by their clothing and badges, and they had announced their identity from the very first contact. He did not comply with their demands. Black remained seated, his left hand hidden by blankets and pillows, his right hand down at his side. Over the next ten seconds, the officers demanded that he raise or show his hands at least eight times. Sensing danger from the rising volume and frequency of the demands that the subject show his hands, KCSO Deputy Grant also entered the dwelling with his taser in his hand. At this point, the video tape shows three red laser dots on the body of the subject. These were the sighting lasers from the tasers deployed by Sgt. Sanchez, Det. Drake, and Deputy Grant. If Black had at that time raised both of his hands, he would have allayed the growing and reasonable fears of the officers. They were in a dark room in a house associated with drug dealing. They knew that a dangerous fugitive was somewhere inside. Their training and experience demanded that they assure themselves that the person before them presented no threat. But this person, aware of—but ignoring—their status as police officers, was giving clear signals that he was not going to respond rationally to the situation. It was quite possible that he had a firearm concealed under the blankets and pillows. If he was given the opportunity to use a concealed pistol, any of the officers could be injured or killed. The subject made the worst choice possible under the circumstances. He turned quickly away from the officers, reaching with his right hand for something under the blankets and pillows to his left, and immediately turned back to face them. Det. Graves fired his pistol. The officers quickly exited the house. They established containment of the dwelling and made no other attempts to enter until the arrival of the County SWAT team. While waiting for the SWAT team to assemble, the officers on scene noted movement inside the house and continued to call on the people inside to come out peaceably. They received no response. The SWAT team entered the house approximately two hours later and took Callihoo into custody. Black’s body was found on the floor just in front of where he had been sitting. He was dead. Det. Graves fired five times. Two of his bullets struck the subject: one entered the left front of his upper chest; the other grazed his right thigh before striking him in the front of his lower abdomen. The pathologist determined the cause of death to be
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gunshot wounds with acute methamphetamine intoxication as a contributing factor: Black’s blood level at the time of his death was 0.44 milligrams of meth per liter. The dwelling was searched after Callihoo’s arrest. The police found marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and evidence of drug dealing but no guns. Immediately after the shooting, Sgt. Sanchez reported that she saw Black point a silver-colored semi-automatic pistol at them and fire at least three shots. Det. Graves reported seeing a revolver in the subject’s hand when he turned back after reaching under the blankets. The search of the area around where Black had been sitting turned up several silver-colored TV remote controls. The searching officers also found a black revolver. It was a plastic toy. Full-sized, it was originally orange in color but had been painted black in an apparent attempt to make it look like a real gun. Whatever he might have been thinking, there is no evidence that Black had access to any kind of firearm. Sgt. Sanchez was obviously mistaken. And if the subject had a revolver in his hand before Det. Graves shot, it was a black-painted toy. However, these facts are not relevant to the decision we face here. Det. Graves and the other officers who confronted Black had every reason to suspect that he posed a threat of serious physical harm. In a situation where the only reasonable course of action would have been to follow the directions of the officers, Black acted in a furtive, threatening manner. The officers had no way to know what action he might take to protect the drug business they knew was being conducted in the house or how far he would go to defend Callihoo. The only test of his intent would have been to wait for him to finish retrieving whatever it was he had concealed under the blankets and pillows on his lap. However, if that object had been a firearm, one or more of the officers would probably have been wounded or killed. Police officers do not carry that heavy a burden. Washington law provides that to justify the use of deadly force a “peace officer must have probable cause to believe that the suspect…poses a threat of serious physical harm to the officer or a threat of serious physical harm to others….” RCW 9A.16.040 (2). The law also states that “A public officer or peace officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable pursuant to this section [of the law].” RCW 9A.16.040 (3). Acting without malice and in good faith, Det. Graves took the only reasonable course that Mr. Black left him. He used the force necessary to avoid the harm he had probable cause to believe was imminent. His actions give us no reason to consider criminal charges.
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Timeline: Officer Involved Shooting at 18636 Second Ave. NE, Suquamish, WA; December 8, 2011. Contact begins at approximately 2:50 P.M. Elapsed Time 0:00:00 0:00:02 0:00:26 0:00:41 0:00:45 0:00:51 0:00:56 Action Officers Arrive. Det. Graves, Sgt. Sanchez, and Det. Drake approach front door and announce their presence. S. Black, primary resident, appears in response to Officers knock on the door. S. Black exits at request of Officers. At request of S. Black, Det. Graves opens front door to allow small dog to enter. He sees a male subject sitting on a bed or couch across the room. Officers hear others in the residence; they decide to enter to make the arrest of Callihoo. The Officers cross the threshold of the dwelling. Subject on couch across the room makes eye contact. He is less than five yards away. Officers make verbal contact with subject on bed/couch. He is looking at them and has his hands in his lap. Over the next ten seconds, all three officers repeatedly call out to the subject to show them both of his hands. He is looking directly at them while they make their commands. Hearing no response to the commands and sensing that the danger is escalating, KCSO Deputy Grant, standing by outside, decides to enter and assist. The subject, after ignoring repeated and clear commands to stay still and show his hands, makes a quick, furtive movement away from the officers, apparently digging his right hand under a blanket on his lap, and starts to turn back toward the officers. Fearing that the subject has reached for a weapon, Det. Graves fires his pistol.
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