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Family of officer-involved shooting victim march in Seattle protest

Family of officer involved shooting victim march in Seattle protest (PHOTO: KOMO News)

Family and friends of a man killed by Seattle police on New Year’s Eve stopped in the middle of a downtown Seattle street Friday and laid down.

Under gray skies, with a light drizzle falling, dozens of people chanted “I’m not reaching” over and over.

A minute or two later they stood up and continued marching.

Iosia Faletogo was shot by police during a confrontation on Dec. 31. Police said he ran from officers who pulled him over during a traffic stop. The department said they found more than 200 pills, containing the illegal narcotic Fentanyl, on him.

Mane Faletogo, the slain man’s father, said police “murdered” his son. The elder Faletego told the crowd at Friday’s rally that he has questions for police.

“I’m the father. I need to know about my son’s killing,” he said to KOMO. “It’s not about shooting it’s about killing. I need to know why did they do this?”

Kerina Ngauamo, the slain man’s aunt, said the city needs to answer them.

“We want things done, it’s been too long. We laid our nephew to rest and now we’re out here to protest about everything,” Ngauamo said.

The Faletogo family said they’ve seen the body camera video released by the department and it’s clear to them Iosia didn’t have to be shot. Though there’s a gun on the ground near him, that in some frames he appears to be reaching for, Faletogo can be heard saying “I’m not reaching.”

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Andre Taylor, who founded “Not This Time!” an advocacy group focused on reducing on-duty police shootings, was at Friday’s rally and march. He said Faletogo’s death needs to be investigated thoroughly.

Dressed in matching T-shirts demanding “Justice for Iosia,” marchers walked from Westlake Park to the U.S. District Courthouse, a few blocks away. They then walked back to the park.

Dozens of Seattle police bike officers followed the march, they blocked streets to allow them to pass. No arrests were made.

Faletogo was killed at North 96th Street and Aurora Avenue North police said he was carrying $1,160 in cash and a vial filled with 263 pills. The pills were stamped with the code for Oxycodone, but, instead, tested positive for a mixture of Fentanyl and Acetaminophen, according to police.

Police said they also found a handgun and a fully loaded magazine.

According to the body camera video footage police released, Faletogo can be seen running from a car during a traffic stop. Officers ordered him to stop and he drew a firearm. He was tackled by an officer and can be seen on the video reaching for a gun on the ground near him.

Police said the car they pulled over had been flagged by the Department of Licensing because the registered driver had a suspended license.

The department identified Officer Jared Keller as the one who shot Faletogo. Keller was involved in another deadly shooting in December 2017. He and several other officers shot an alleged armed robber at Magnuson Park in Northeast Seattle.

While the department has said little about the officers’ actions that night, Seattle Police Guild President Kevin Stuckey defended them. He called Keller “a good officer who was out there and he was doing his job.”

During an interview with KOMO earlier this month, Stuckey said no officer wants to be involved in a fatal shooting. He said Keller and the other officers had no other choice.

“I think I got seconds. I have a choice here, he’s reaching for the gun, it’s on the ground, I’ve got seconds,” Stuckey said “If I hesitate either myself or one of my fellow officers are going to be shot.”

Stuckey, added “if they would have hesitated any further we’d be telling another story.”

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