Did Peterson shoot at the cops, or not?

This morning's news stories on the police killing of Kevin Peterson, Jr. in Hazel Dell, Washington Thursday evening raise the horrifying possibility that the three unnamed Clark County sheriff's deputies who killed him may already be changing their story.

The Oregonian and the Columbian both suggested this in their coverage today. The O, which has a more extensive story, writes:

The exact circumstances of the shooting remain unclear. The Southwest Washington Independent Investigative Response Team, which is investigating the shooting, said Peterson “produced” a gun before deputies fired. Yet earlier Friday, Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins said Peterson shot first at deputies. Investigators said they found a .40-caliber Glock pistol near Peterson’s body.

Here's how the Columbian puts it:

Sheriff Chuck Atkins said at a press conference Friday afternoon that the incident began as detectives were conducting a narcotics investigation in the area. A foot pursuit ensued where deputies were chasing a man with a firearm, Atkins said. The man reportedly fired his weapon at the deputies, who returned fire, he said.

However, additional information released an hour before Peterson’s vigil [which was at 7:00 last night], did not say if the man fired a weapon. Investigators said a Glock model 23, 40 caliber pistol was found near Peterson.

And so, it seems, the later report not only doesn't allege that Peterson fired a gun, but it doesn't even say he pointed one. How do you "produce" a gun?

Anyone who has watched movies about crooked police know that they sometimes plant guns and drugs on suspects or their murder victims. But even assuming that the Glock they're talking about now was really Peterson's gun, the authorities can't seem to get a consistent story out about whether he fired it.

It's 36 hours after this went down. Either he shot at them or he didn't.

Maybe the "response team" (which I hear consists of cops from nearby Camas, so much for "independent") is just being extra careful with its language, and the deputies will all say Peterson shot at them. But so far no witness has stated publicly that Peterson even brandished a gun. They say he was running away, looking extremely scared, and had his hands in his pockets.

What's next? I guess there'll be an autopsy, and we will hear how many bullets hit him, and where on his body. How profoundly sad.

Do the deputies have names? Do they have histories? When will that information be made known?

There's video, you know there's video. Where is it?

Can the authorities up there be trusted? Who is the district attorney in Clark County? Who is the coroner? Who is their U.S. attorney, someone up in Seattle? Does the state attorney general have a role to play here?

I wish I didn't want to know the answers to any of these questions. But here we are.


  1. Every detail of this needs to be cleared up. Start with the "narcotics investigation in the area." Were they looking for this individual and what were the drugs specifically? Were they just riding around and noticed a young black man and took it from there? It's already taken too long to come up with some videos, etc... How about a picture of the gun next to the young man's body taken within minutes of the start of the investigation? The longer it takes the more suspicious this gets. We know the authorities would have every incentive to hide the truth if they knew the truth would lead to a huge nationwide protest that could tear Hazel Dell down. Frankly, I'm having the same feeling as when the Kendra James killing happened. I looked at her picture and I felt something about her as a person. Breyonna Taylor as well. The pictures of this young man do not seem threatening. He looks like a good person. That may be just a misguided hunch but we make assumptions every day based on appearance and I'm not seeing someone who needed to die here.

    1. The vagueness is entirely consistent with murder and coverup, but I wonder how much we'll ever find out. The Camas cops are not going to rat out the Clark County sheriff if they can help it. "Forget it, Jake, it's Jamie Herrera-Beutler country."

      I'm hoping for video. The cops hate the video.

      Interestingly, the new head of the Portland police union lives up that way, in Ridgefield. The pay and benefits in Portland must be way better for him to make that commute all these years. So who's left wearing the badges up there?

  2. Very well said! All we want are answers! And HONESTY in the answer! We want the TRUTH, and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH! And clearly the only way to get that is by video... since we now can’t trust anything they say!


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