The Spokane County Prosecutor’s office has declined to file charges against a sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a man he said he believed was about to break into a home, and possibly take hostages, after ignoring commands to stop.
Clando Anitok, 25, was shot and killed by Deputy Brent Miller in January after a routine traffic stop turned into a car chase. Anitok was unarmed.
Anitok was Marshallese, and his family was represented by the Center for Justice before the nonprofit’s closure earlier this month.
The shooting was one of the first in Spokane to be investigated under I-940, a law that mandates independent investigations of uses of deadly force and expanded de-escalation and mental health intervention training for law enforcement.
“I-940 is meant to address the problem of racial biases in police shootings and ensure transparency and independence in the investigation of police use of deadly force,” a Center for Justice statement read last month.
On Jan. 10, Miller was driving east on West Cascade Way when he saw that a Chrysler Pacifica driven by Anitok heading in the other direction had a defective headlight, a statement from the prosecutor said. The registration was also expired and the car had a defective brake light.
Miller initiated a traffic stop.
Anitok did not pull over, but instead accelerated and turned a corner, the statement said.
“He began to flee in a very uncontrolled manner with excessive speed,” the prosecutor’s statement read.
Anitok’s speed was a estimated to be 50 mph in a 25-mph zone.
Anitok hit a curb and drove onto the sidewalk during the chase. He then lost control of the vehicle and drove it through a fence before it came to stop in the yard of a house in the 6900 block of North Post Street, the prosecutor’s office said.
Miller attempted contact with Anitok, who refused to turn off the car, according to the statement.
Anitok eventually got out of the car, but did not get on the ground per Miller’s commands, the prosecutor’s office said.
Anitok instead moved toward the deputy, who then said he warned Anitok he could be shot if he didn’t comply.
Miller tried to subdue Anitok twice with a Taser, but the device malfunctioned, a prosecutor’s statement said.
Anitok then fled into the backyard of the home, causing Miller to briefly lose sight of him. When Miller was able to see Anitok again, he said it appeared as though he was attempting to break into the house and possibly take hostages, the prosecutor’s statement said.
Miller yelled for Anitok to stop and get on the ground, but he did not respond and instead moved his hands toward his waistband, according to the statement.
That’s when Miller fired one shot, striking Anitok in the head and killing him.
The investigation found that Anitok was unarmed and had a blood alcohol level of .17. The prosecutor said that under the facts and circumstances at the time, Miller was justified in using deadly force.
“Deputy Miller had good faith belief in the correctness of his actions,” the statement reads.
Anitok had no criminal history. His family was not available for comment.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.