SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police say they have recovered and are reviewing video of the New Year’s Eve shooting death by a Seattle police officer of a Samoan man who officers say pulled a gun following a traffic stop.
His longtime girlfriend identified the victim as 36-year-old Iosia Faletogo.
She said the couple have two young sons. A Seattle Police Force Investigation Team has convened to look into the shooting, which occurred on Dec. 31 at about 5 p.m.
Police stopped Faletogo’s vehicle, headed northbound on Aurora. Police have still not said what prompted them to pull him over. Authorities say Faletogo stopped, but then jumped out of the vehicle and ran west across the Aurora southbound lanes. Three officers caught up with him and a struggle ensued, police said. Police say he was shot when he produced a gun.
“He did not deserve to be slaughtered like an animal in the street,” said Kerina Ngauamo, Faletogo’s aunt, at a news conference on Jan. 4.
The Seattle Police Officers Guild, the union representing more than 1,300 officers and sergeants, issued a statement, calling Faletogo a “convicted and violent felon” who repeatedly failed to comply with warnings from officers.
“His refusal to obey their commands escalated the situation and forced the officers to defend themselves,” the statement said.
Joseph Seia, a Pacific Islander community organizer and commissioner on the Community Police Commission in Seattle, has been supporting Faletogo’s family.
“The family has still not been given the opportunity to visit with Iosia’s full body due to financial cost. Because of the gun shot wound, the funeral home has to prepare his head before visitations. Part of Samoan mourning is to grieve collectively and have the relatives speak with the body as if they were still here and they haven’t had that chance.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up at gofundme.com/memorial-fundraiser-for-iosia-slim-faletogo.