Kitsap County Prosecutor Chad Enright released a statement on Tuesday stating that the investigation into the July 3 police shooting of Stonechild Chiefstick, will need additional investigation in order to answer lingering questions.
The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office received the investigation materials of the shooting from the Kitsap County Investigative Response Team (KCIRT) in early November.
At that time, Enright indicated that it was his goal to complete a review of the investigation within 60 days. He also noted that if additional questions were to arise, his office would ask KCIRT to conduct follow-up investigations or provide additional details about the evidence that was collected, which would likely delay his ability to provide a prompt evaluation of this investigation.
“After personally reviewing the entire investigation and having received input from advocates on behalf of I-940 and Mr. Stonechild Chiefstick, who have also reviewed the investigation, I have sent a request to KCIRT to conduct additional follow up investigation,” Enright said in the release. “Our published Charging Standards require that we ensure through follow up communication with the investigators, that a thorough and factual investigation has been conducted before a decision to prosecute is made.”
Enright noted that this is a common request for the prosecutor’s office to make and is a regular part of the investigative process.
Enright has asked for clarification of some of the witness statements, as well as statements from witnesses identified during interviews and the completed toxicology results from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab. In the statement he also asked that all interviews of witnesses be transcribed and made available to the public as public documents upon their completion and have been provided to the prosecutor’s office.
“I cannot predict when this additional investigation will be completed. The use of force against minority communities, particularly Native Americans, requires careful scrutiny by those tasked with reviewing these investigations. We have an obligation to do a comprehensive and meticulous review of the investigative materials that document the events of July 3rd, 2019. The decision to prosecute or not prosecute must always remain driven by the evidence collected, and by the law,” Enright said.
“I previously said that the 60-day goal is designed to ensure that the Prosecutor evaluation is not rushed and is done in a methodical, complete and thorough manner. That remains my commitment. This office is dedicated to doing our very best to guarantee that we know the facts and that we follow the law when reviewing this investigation.”