Twenty-eight year old Patrick O’Meara was shot dead at a Tillicum residence by Lakewood Police shortly before midnight June 18, 2013.
Could it have ended differently?
The latest update provided June 24 by Lt. Chris Lawler stated the “subject had an outstanding felony arrest warrant for theft and was known to law enforcement and had a criminal record.
“Officers approached the residence and knocked on the door, announcing that they were the ‘Police’. Other officers were standing at the side of the residence at a window and spotted O’Meara inside, armed with a firearm. Despite repeated attempts to order O’Meara to drop the weapon, he refused and forced officers to fire their weapons.
“Lakewood Officers made entry into the residence and found O’Meara suffering from gunshot wounds. Officers on scene performed CPR until medics arrived, but he was pronounced deceased at the scene.”
Lawler’s updated article includes a picture of “the weapon that O’Meara was armed with” that “turned out to be a very realistic looking metal cap gun.”
Lawler further states that “LPD Major Crimes detectives and the Cooperative Cities Crime Response Unit are investigating the shooting, along with an investigator from the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.”
Meanwhile the two officers who fired their duty weapons are on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted.
As President of the Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association in which community this death occurred, I have written about this matter previously and most recently have requested a copy of the Lakewood Police Department’s Use of Force Policy in light of other recent incidents involving local law enforcement in which weapons were involved with different outcomes.
In the meantime there is this research conducted by the ACLU of Nevada in a 2012 report that reviewed use of force policies from various police departments and law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles, Denver, Louisville, Portland (Oregon), Philadelphia, and Washington DC.
With regards the use of force, “the ACLU also reviewed policy recommendations from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Police Assessment Resource Center.”
Of particular interest was the ACLU’s finding that “officers should recognize that their conduct immediately connected to the use of force may be a factor which can influence the level of force necessary in a given situation.” Said recognition recommends “that an officer may withdraw to a position that is tactically more secure or allows an officer greater distance in order to consider or deploy a greater variety of force options (derived in part from the footnoted Denver Police Department Use of Force Policy, 105.01(1)(a)(2010)).