In Seattle, one officer’s multiple deadly encounters offer a window into this little-understood corner of American policing.
The video is brief but disturbing: Moments after two Seattle police officers kick down an apartment’s front door, a shirtless man appears on camera, lumbering slowly toward them with a 4‑inch switchblade in his hand.
Inside a nearby bathroom was the man’s barricaded girlfriend, who had dialed 911 after she said he threatened her life and his own. Within 6 seconds, the officers opened fire. Ryan Smith, a Black and Latino 31-year-old, was killed in a burst of 10 shots on May 8, 2019, according to police records.
The officer who pulled the trigger first — and fired eight of the bullets that killed Smith — was Christopher Myers, 54, who has earned an array of commendations in his three decades at the Seattle Police Department, including officer of the year and a medal of honor. He was once heralded as an officer with an “unbelievable degree of patience” who cared deeply about the people on his beat.
Myers, who is white, also belongs to a rare but significant class of American law enforcement officers: He’s used deadly force multiple times in his career, firing his gun in four separate incidents in the last 11 years. Three people were killed in the shootings and one was seriously injured. All but one were people of color.
The Seattle Police Department declined to say whether Myers acted appropriately in each encounter, though officials gave him an award in at least one case. And according to the independent unit within the department that investigates allegations of wrongdoing, the Office of Police Accountability, only Smith’s killing was referred for review, and there was no finding of misconduct.
In an interview with NBC News, Myers attributed his repeated use of deadly force to a combination of factors, including threats posed by armed suspects, a willingness to rush toward danger and a confidence honed through years of experience and tactical training. He denied any racial bias in the shootings.
“I don’t expect any of my calls to escalate into shootings,” he said, adding: “Unfortunately, some people don’t yield and sometimes force the situation.”
Read the rest of the story here; https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/most-officers-never-fire-their-guns-some-kill-multiple-people-n1264795