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In brief: Police chief wants shooting inquiry

Coeur d’Alene police Chief Wayne Longo on Tuesday expressed sympathy to the family of the man shot and killed Sunday by one of his officers, and called for a thorough investigation of the confrontation.

“We extend our sympathy to Eric Johnston’s family, and commit to a professional investigation of the officer involved shooting,” Longo said in a statement. “The use of deadly force is a decision officers must face during extremely difficult and dangerous situations. I have confidence in our officers and the investigative process.”

Eric Byron Johnston, 35, a Dalton Gardens resident, died after he was shot multiple times in a friend’s apartment near downtown Coeur d’Alene. An autopsy was conducted Monday by the Kootenai County Coroner’s Office, but investigators declined to reveal how many times Johnston was shot.

Toxicology results from the autopsy are not expected to be available for several weeks.

The Idaho State Police, which is leading the investigation, has not named the officer who shot Johnston. The officer has been placed on administrative leave per department policy.

Johnston’s family is planning a funeral for Saturday.

Police approached Johnston shortly before 8 a.m. Sunday. He had driven his pickup truck into a utility pole, knocking it over, a half-hour earlier about a block away.

Scott Maben

Envision to appeal initiative ruling

Envision Spokane will appeal a judge’s ruling that kicked its initiative off this November’s ballot.

“We’re not going to take this lying down,” Brad Read, board president of Envision Spokane, said Tuesday. “She chose to side with the powerful interests to tell the people of Spokane what they could vote on.”

Read called Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno’s ruling an “attack on democracy,” and said his board voted unanimously to appeal her decision.

Read doesn’t expect his group’s Community Bill of Rights initiative to appear on the ballot this fall simply because time won’t allow it.

On Friday, Moreno barred Envision’s initiative and one from Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution from the ballot, siding with a coalition of government and business interests, which argued that the initiatives would have created regulations and protections that were not within the city’s power to enact. Moreno said the provisions within the measures either conflicted with state and federal law or infringed upon the power of local government to set policy.

Chris Nerison, who leads SMAC, said Friday he would not appeal the decision.

Nicholas Deshais