King Inquiry: What Next?

On Oct. 10 Police Monitor Iris Jones, flanked by members of the police Citizen Review Panel, announced the panel's unanimous vote calling for an independent investigator to review the police shooting of Sophia King. "It is my duty to concur with this recommendation or reject it," Jones read from a prepared statement. "Based on my own analysis of this matter, and after hearing the public input and panel debate, I concur."

The press-conference posse then moved downtown to APD's Eighth Street headquarters, where Chief Stan Knee read from his own prepared statement. The chief, like Jones, can either accept or reject the panel's findings. In the latter case, the final call would come from City Manager Toby Futrell -- but this time it didn't have to go that far. "Based upon all that I have read and the briefings presented, it is clear that on June 11, 2002 [Officer] John Coffey's use of force was necessary in order to save another person's life," Knee read. "While I think the [APD internal] investigation was complete ... I also recognize that seven good citizens, representing a cross section of the community, voted without dissent to request an outside review of the incident."

What happens now is uncertain -- the meet-and-confer agreement between the city and Austin's police union, which created Jones' office and the panel, doesn't include standard procedures for conducting an independent review. Jones and Austin Police Association President Mike Sheffield say discussions on how to proceed are in the works.

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