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Friday, Oct. 01, 2010

POLICE: Kennewick officer returns to duty after shooting
By Paula Horton, Herald staff writer

Kennewick, WA -- A Kennewick police officer involved in a fatal shooting last year has been returned to full duty.

Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg announced today that a shooting review board found that Officer Lee Cooper’s action on Sept. 14, 2009, was “lawful and proper.”

Cooper, a motorcycle officer, shot and killed 39-year-old Christopher Villarreal, of Richland, after Villarreal tried to ram his car backward into Cooper’s bike.

The shooting review board was convened Wednesday according to department policy and “focused on what Officer Cooper knew at the time,” Hohenberg said.

The events, which began in Richland as a hit-and-run and continued into Kennewick, were “very dynamic” and happening “very quickly,” he said.

The review board found Officer Cooper had no other choice but to fire at Villarreal to protect himself, Hohenberg said, adding that the shooting not only followed department policy but also state law.

The incident was also initially investigated by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and turned over to the FBI on Oct. 1, 2009.

Last month, Jim McDevitt, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said the investigation was closed and no criminal charges would be pursued.

Hohenberg said he received a letter from McDevitt that said the investigation found “there was no evidence of a willful violation of Mr. Villarreal’s civil rights.”

Hohenberg said he’s confident Cooper made the right choice and made the choice the chief said he would expect his officers to make.

Villarreal’s family has filed a $15 million claim against the city, and their attorney, Norma Rodriguez, has previously said they will be filing a civil complaint in federal court against the city and the police department.



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Friday, Oct. 01, 2010

POLICE: Kennewick officer returns to duty after shooting
By Paula Horton, Herald staff writer

Kennewick, WA -- A Kennewick police officer involved in a fatal shooting last year has been returned to full duty.

Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg announced today that a shooting review board found that Officer Lee Cooper’s action on Sept. 14, 2009, was “lawful and proper.”

Cooper, a motorcycle officer, shot and killed 39-year-old Christopher Villarreal, of Richland, after Villarreal tried to ram his car backward into Cooper’s bike.

The shooting review board was convened Wednesday according to department policy and “focused on what Officer Cooper knew at the time,” Hohenberg said.

The events, which began in Richland as a hit-and-run and continued into Kennewick, were “very dynamic” and happening “very quickly,” he said.

The review board found Officer Cooper had no other choice but to fire at Villarreal to protect himself, Hohenberg said, adding that the shooting not only followed department policy but also state law.

The incident was also initially investigated by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and turned over to the FBI on Oct. 1, 2009.

Last month, Jim McDevitt, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said the investigation was closed and no criminal charges would be pursued.

Hohenberg said he received a letter from McDevitt that said the investigation found “there was no evidence of a willful violation of Mr. Villarreal’s civil rights.”

Hohenberg said he’s confident Cooper made the right choice and made the choice the chief said he would expect his officers to make.

Villarreal’s family has filed a $15 million claim against the city, and their attorney, Norma Rodriguez, has previously said they will be filing a civil complaint in federal court against the city and the police department.

:angry:
 
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