Native Americans frustrated by Olsen verdict - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Native Americans frustrated by Olsen verdict

Shonto Pete Shonto Pete
Olsen during trial Olsen during trial
Olsen hugging friends and family immediately following acquittal Olsen hugging friends and family immediately following acquittal
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner Spokane Mayor Mary Verner

SPOKANE, Wash. - Some Native Americans are expressing frustration to city officials over the acquittal of an off-duty Spokane police officer who shot a young Indian man.

Mayor Mary Verner and police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick got an earful when they attended a forum at the NATIVE Project and health clinic on Tuesday night.

On March 13, a Spokane County Superior Court jury found suspended Officer Jay Olsen innocent in the shooting of Shonto Pete after a chase two years earlier in which both men were drunk.

Some Indian speakers contended there is racial profiling by the police, they do not trust officers and the city lacks cultural awareness.

Olsen to receive back pay

(3/16/09) Less than a week after Spokane Police officer Jay Olsen was found not guilty on assault charges, the city has released what he will receive in back pay. Civil service laws require the city to pay Olsen since he was acquitted of the charges.

The officer will receive $152,510.71 including regular wages, shift differential, estimated overtime and deferred compensation matching. Olsen was accused of wrongfully shooting Shonto Pete in February of 2007 after Olsen says Pete stole his truck.

Pete was acquitted by a jury of the charge he stole the truck. Olsen is now on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation by the Police Department.

Olsen found not guilty on all charges

(3/13/09) The jury in the trial of suspended officer Jay Olsen has found him not guilty on charges of First Degree Assault and Reckless Endangerment. The charges stemmed from a February 2007 shooting involving Shonto Pete. The verdict was handed down just after 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Pete says he was shot by Olsen in an incident that occurred on February 26, 2007. Olsen and a female acquaintance were leaving Dempsey's Brass Rail in downtown Spokane about 2:30 a.m. that morning and were seated in her car while Olsen's pickup was left running to warm up.

Pete says he approached Olsen's car to ask for a ride and says he was chased off. Pete says Olsen chased him down over an embankment that leads to Peaceful Valley where Olsen fired five shots, one of which hit him in the head.

The First-Degree Assault charge is based on the shooting and wounding of Pete. The Reckless Endangerment counts are based on Olsen firing in the direction of occupied homes and striking one.

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