Officer Involved Shooting - May 21, 2015

Investigation Status Updated September 30, 2015
All of the review processes for this incident are completed at this time. The criminal trial against the two defendants for their assault of the Olympia Police Officer is on-going. Although the review processes are completed, our conversations about this incident with our community will continue. You can find the Olympia Police Department talking with you in your neighborhoods, schools, faith groups, business groups, civic organizations and government assemblies. Please join us in these important conversations.

Previous Statements


"The events of May 21, 2015 continue to challenge and stretch us as a community. As some of our community leaders have already suggested, this is a time for courageous, thoughtful and respectful engagement. Above all it is a time to commit to peace and non-violence. Our community is strong and we are capable of dealing with hard questions in a compassionate, empathetic and open minded way.

It is understandable that now that Thurston County Prosecutor Tunhiem’s decision has been released that not everyone agrees with it. All voices and perspectives deserve to be heard. That should andmust be our commitment as a community – to listen and learn from each other. Let’s work together to make change for the better happen through constructive engagement.

We still have a long road ahead of us. There are many more steps to our working through the incident that took place on May 21. As that work progresses we will remain committed to looking at everyopportunity to learn from and improve our social justice system. I continue to be grateful for all of the organizations in our community that have stepped up to the challenge to provide forums fordiscussion, education and action on issues of race, power and privilege. Olympia can and will make a meaningful contribution to the dialogue our Nation is having about these issues.

We all have a responsibility to ensure that the peace in our community is maintained and that all members of our community feel that they are safe, valued and supported."

"The Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office has released part of the investigation of the May 21 Officer Involved Shooting. The Prosecutor has yet to make a final determination in this case. The Prosecutoroperates completely independently – he is responsible for deciding what and how information is released. And, the Prosecutor is also the only person that has the authority to file charges, if any, and decidewho, if anyone, is to be charged based upon the facts of the investigation.

We support the legal rights of all parties in this case. In difficult and complex cases it can be frustrating to wait while the due process of law is followed. We must be mindful that there are many more stepsin this process, some of which are likely to play out over a long period of time – likely longer than any of us would want. As we wait we will continue to reflect, learn and invest in actions that will bring uscloser together as a community and ensure that our experience in this matter is used for positive and meaningful ends."

Immediately following the May 21st officer involved shooting an independent investigation was launched by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department. The City of Olympia has no role or influence over thesubstance of the investigation or when the results will be released. As of this date and time the City has not received information about the substance of the investigation or its conclusions. I am hopefulthat details will be given to the city and the public soon.

I recognize that it is frustrating for our community to have to wait for the facts. I also understand the importance of taking the time to ensure that all possible effort is made to accurately present theevents that took place so that the due process of law can be followed.

It is understandable that given the many events that have taken place across the nation that there are concerns and frustrations over this recent incident in Olympia. Although the City has no role in theinvestigation we continue to be committed to transparency and peaceful and meaningful public dialogue. Our community is well positioned to model how we can meet the challenges that all communitiesare today facing when it comes to meeting the need for public safety and social justice. I encourage all citizens who are interested in these issues to participate in peaceful and thoughtful reflection andavoid non-productive speculation. I continue to be impressed and very grateful to the many organizations and faith based groups that have opened their doors to peaceful and thoughtful dialogue.

Since last Thursday’s officer involved shooting, many community members have reached out to the City Council, City Manager, and Police Chief to share their thoughts, hopes, fears, and support. We haveand continue to listen. 

Last night the Olympia City Council cleared its agenda so that we could hear from everyone who wished to speak at the Council’s regularly scheduled meeting. Over 160 individuals came to City Hall in ashow of solidarity and concern, with an additional 50-60 people demonstrating in front of the building.  In nearly 2 hours of public comment, we heard from 34 individuals.

Last Thursday, within 24 hours of the incident, several of us attended a listening session at Temple Beth Hatfiloh organized by local clergy. Nearly 200 individuals attended. They respectfully shared theirperspectives and listened to each other. We have also been contacted by countless community members both in person and by email. I believe that we are all moved by the depth of concern and feelingsexpressed by our community the past few days.

There must and will be transparency, objectivity, and accountability in Olympia. We are challenged at this time as we wait for the investigation to conclude. It’s appropriate to emphasize that the currentinvestigation is a criminal investigation of all parties – the two individuals, Bryson Chaplin and Andre Thompson, and the Olympia police officer, Ryan Donald. The outcome of that investigation is down theroad. In the meantime, we must continue our dialogue and do our best to respond to all of the issues and interests that have been expressed by our citizens.

We also understand that what happened in Olympia is being automatically tied by some to the current very important national debate and concerns over race and social justice. Feelings have beenheightened by incidents and reactions in other cities around the country. We believe that Olympia can and will make important contributions to this national debate. At the same time, we will and mustmake certain that we remain committed to focusing on the facts of our own case in our pursuit of unbiased justice here in Olympia. It is difficult, yet we must separate the deep cultural issues related torace and social justice from the criminal investigation. Removing bias and preconceptions is the path to justice.

We very much appreciate the care and concern and interest expressed by our citizens. We believe Olympia is both a strong and very special community that will learn from this current experience and growstronger as a result.

This is a tragic event. It deeply saddens me that we have two young people in the hospital as the result of an altercation with an officer of the law. Let’s come together to support their needs, the officer’sneeds, the needs of the families and our community’s needs. Let’s not be reactive. Let’s take the path of consciously addressing our questions of what happened as best we can, seek justice and healing.

Our community is a strong, caring and compassionate community. We deeply value non-violence and justice that is restorative. This is a challenging time that I know we will move through together, learnfrom and be stronger as a result.

We are committed to looking hard at what happened. By investing in an investigation that focuses on the facts, as they emerge, we will ensure that our response will be responsible and just.

I have personally spoken with the Presidents of The Evergreen State College and South Puget Sound Community College, as well as members of our Faith Community. They have all agreed to set up placeswhere members of our community can gather.

The Olympia community experienced a tragedy this morning: a police officer shot two young men while responding to a 9-1-1 call about an assault. The two men are expected to survive and the officer wasnot injured. An investigation of the event is underway. It is being led by the Thurston County Critical Incident Team, an investigative team made up of detectives from five local jurisdictions. The CriticalIncident Team investigates independently of the Olympia Police Department. While the Department receives some general details, the precise facts of the event cannot be known until the investigation iscompleted. It is essential that an investigation into this kind of event is fair, thorough, and timely for everyone involved. I appreciate the community’s patience as the investigation moves forward.

I invite you to access all the information on this page.  We are posting information as it comes in and information that may be helpful in understanding the process of investigating an officer-involvedshooting. Information about community meetings will also be posted here. I hope that you will attend a community meeting if you have questions or concerns about the event.


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