Inquest into man's shooting death by Seattle police scheduled for March 29, 2016

Feb 25, 2016, 11:00 ET from Anjilvel Mentzer Law Group

SEATTLE, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An inquest regarding 27-year-old Samuel Toshiro Smith's shooting death by a Seattle police officer is scheduled for March 29th, 2016 in King County District Court in downtown Seattle. On July 17, 2015, Smith became a tragic statistic as one of the 1,204 persons killed in this country by police last year. Smith, who was impaired at the time of his apprehension by the police, was shot three times by Seattle police officer Shaun Hilton after being given a 2-second warning.

Smith, a sushi chef at Ohana's Restaurant in Seattle, was known to be a gentle, caring, dependable and hardworking young man. He leaves behind a grieving community of friends, coworkers and family from Seattle and his hometown of Port Townsend.

Smith's mother, Sara Fitch, is deeply troubled by the circumstances of her son's death. "I am a person who has spent 30 years as an RN. I have experience in caring for impaired people who often display bursts of volatility. I don't get to harm them, I am trained to help them," she said. "I saw the video showing my son's discordant, impaired body movement. He wasn't charging at all. Sam needed to be helped and I am profoundly heartbroken that my son's death came at the hands of a professional who had the capacity to act otherwise. It is the ultimate betrayal of trust."

Immediately after Smith's death, police dash camera footage of the shooting was released to the public, raising questions. Was Smith's death a justifiable "good kill," in the parlance of law enforcement, or was it a case of police misconduct?

Ms. Fitch will be in attendance along with her civil rights attorney Sunitha Anjilvel of the Anjilvel Mentzer Law Group, a Seattle law firm.

Ms. Fitch welcomes this opportunity to get some answers about what happened to her son. "I want to know what calculus existed in Officer Hilton's mind when he approached my son on the street. Couldn't he recognize severe impairment and act accordingly? Did he not understand how severe impairment limits, if not totally negates, a person's ability to cause harm to a competent officer? How much time does the person get before deadly force is used?"

There is no such thing as a "Good Kill"

"If the inquest and any subsequent proceedings yield any lessons, Ms. Fitch states, those lessons will have come at an unimaginably high price. Police reform dialogue must allow for serious discussion about police training and the devaluation of life. "There is no such thing as a 'Good Kill'," says Ms. Fitch.

About Anjilvel Mentzer

The Anjilvel Mentzer Law Group ( is a Seattle law firm committed to social justice and institutional change, with over 25 years' experience in family law and civil rights.

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SOURCE Anjilvel Mentzer Law Group