Report: Officer in deadly New Year's Eve shooting followed Seattle Police policy

SEATTLE -- The city of Seattle announced Wednesday that the officer who fired the shot that killed a 36-year-old man on New Year's Eve has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

The Seattle Office of Police Accountability (OPA) report says that no criminal charges against the officer were recommended or filed in the shooting of Iosia Faletogo.

The shooting happened Dec. 31, 2018, after a traffic stop in the Licton Springs neighborhood.

As seen on police body camera video, Faletogo took off running and police chased him. A scuffle on the ground followed, and you can hear police order him to drop a gun and then tell him not to reach for it.

In the report released by OPA, they say Faletogo stated, "Nope, not reaching." Almost simultaneously, one of the officers fired a single deadly shot.

The OPA director says the officer "made the difficult, split-second decision to use deadly force because he perceived he was in grave danger given Faletogo's immediate access to a weapon and lack of compliance."

"Even had the officer who fired the shot heard the statement, it would not have been possible for him to change his actions given the quickly evolving and chaotic nature of the situation," the report goes on to say.

The OPA concludes that "the officer's conduct followed SPD policy and training."

The lawyer for Faletogo's mother has a very different take.

"He dropped the weapon, you can hear that he dropped the gun," said attorney Corey Guilmette. "There is no question that he was not armed at the time he was shot."

There were marches and rallies following the deadly shooting attended by people whose loved ones were also shot and killed by police. They were calling for more police training and accountability when it comes to the use of deadly force.

Faletogo's father has filed a federal lawsuit against the Seattle Police Department and the officer who fired. Guilmette says the family is also awaiting an inquest in which they'll be able to ask questions of all the officers involved. They feel it will clearly prove Faletogo should be alive.