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Files on police officer, man he shot revealed

Sat., March 3, 2007

A 27-year-old man shot by an off-duty Spokane police officer earlier this week has a criminal past, while Officer James “Jay” Olsen’s personnel file indicates only upstanding behavior.

Spokane County sheriff’s deputies are investigating what happened early Monday when Shonto K. Pete was shot in the head by Olsen. The officer claims Pete was stealing his truck from outside a downtown bar.

Since Pete and Olsen have been unavailable for interviews, court records and Police Department files are the only information available to lend insight.

Pete’s criminal record shows traffic infractions, a drunken driving conviction and domestic assault, but nothing that indicates a pattern of theft.

He has no felony convictions on his record, said his attorney, David Partovi.

Last month, Pete was convicted of driving under the influence and is currently on two years probation for the charge, court records show. On Feb. 16, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail with eight days credit for time served, but he was not kept in jail.

In 2000, Pete was convicted of second-degree negligent driving. In July 2004, he spent six days in jail for malicious mischief/domestic violence and domestic violence assault.

A search of Washington District Court records lists several of the Spokane police officers Pete encountered during his arrests, and Olsen’s name was not among them.

The Spokane city attorney’s office has released Olsen’s personnel file. According to the letter attached to the documents, the file is complete.

Olsen, a 16-year veteran of the department, has letters of thanks and commendations dating back to 1992. Excerpts from the documents describe Olsen as a “hero,” “prompt, courteous and professional,” “helpful” and “loving.”

Olsen was one of the officers mentioned in a Letter of Commendation regarding a 2005 gang shooting. Olsen also received commendations for training a rookie officer, a domestic violence call, police academy demonstrations and a rape investigation.

Several residents wrote letters to the department after Olsen, alone or accompanying other officers, responded to their homes on emergency calls.

The file had no records indicating discipline since Olsen has been with the department.

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