Family and friends of Stonechild “Stoney” Chiefstick will be holding a march for justice on Saturday, Aug, 10.
The march will begin at 3 p.m. at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park, the site where Chiefstick was killed and will proceed up to Poulsbo City Hall.
Chiefstick was killed during an altercation with the Poulsbo Police Department on July 3, just prior to the Independence Day fireworks show.
People gathering at the venue had reported to officers, that Chiefstick had been behaving strangely, invading personal space and had lunged at people, with a screwdriver. When officers confronted Chiefstick, a struggle ensued and ultimately ended with an officer shooting Chiefstick in the torso and head.
As required by Initiative 940 (I-940), which came into full effect just two days earlier, on July 1, the Kitsap County Incident Response Team (KCIRT) was called in to conduct an independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting. KCIRT is made up of law enforcement entities from all over Kitsap County, however, it excludes Poulsbo law enforcement.
While the investigation into the shooting is still ongoing, updates have been provided to the public from KCIRT investigators. One of the first updates informed the public that the officer who shot Chiefstick had his body camera dislodged during the altercation. Investigators said the state of the footage on the camera was unknown. Other responding officers’ footage is being reviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.
The most recent update came from Lt. Kevin Crane of the Bremerton Police Department, identifying the officer involved in the shooting as Poulsbo Police Officer Craig Keller.
Keller has served with the Poulsbo Police Department since May, 2015. Prior to working for Poulsbo, he served as an officer for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.
In a statement given to the North Kitsap Herald, Port Gamble Police Chief Domingo Almirol stated, “During Officer Keller’s employment with the Port Gamble S’Klallam Police Department, he did not have any citizen complaints or internal reviews. He left the department in good standing.”
Chiefstick’s family, friends and many others throughout the community are calling Keller’s actions an excessive use of force and are calling upon the City of Poulsbo and Poulsbo Police Chief Dan Schoonmaker to fire him. Keller has been on paid administrative leave since the incident.
Saturday’s march is being organized by Chiefstick’s ex-wife and mother to four of his children, Trishandra Pickup.
In February, 2009, Pickup filed a Temporary Order of Protection against Chiefstick in Suquamish Tribal Court. The order was issued on Feb. 3, 2009, but was lifted following a hearing on Feb. 20, 2009.
“Stoney had experienced a lot of losses that he felt personally responsible for. He had recently lost his father and stepfather and felt it was his responsibility to care for his mother, so he was back and forth between her and us a lot. He was also drinking, which was his way of healing. I filed the restraining order after a particular incident. I wanted him to take his actions seriously and get himself together,” Pickup said.
Chiefstick and Pickup’s relationship ended the following year in 2010.
“When we ended things our relationship actually got better. We were able to remove some of the animosity from our relationship and be better parents to our children,” Pickup said.
When asked what she would like to see come out of Saturday’s march, Pickup said, “ultimately, I want the march to accomplish having Officer Keller fired, arrested and charged with the murder of my children’s father.”
“It seems to me right now, that in society, if you want to get away with murder, you should become a cop,” Pickup added.
Pickup also noted that she wanted to see more accountability for police and better implementation of de-escalation tactics.
When asked if she was concerned about any backlash during the march she said: “I am worried about that, especially given recent events.”
On Tuesday, Poulsbo Police Chief Dan Schoonmaker said that the department had been in talks with organizers for the march and that he had been made aware of the demonstration. Schoonmaker said he did not anticipate any conflict to arise as a result of the demonstration on Saturday.