Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Creach shooting reaches Olympia

Posted on Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 10:07 AM

The fatal shooting last August of a Spokane Valley pastor and commercial greenhouse operator by a Spokane County sheriff's deputy is still reverberating.

Prosecutor Steve Tucker cleared Deputy Brian Hirzel of criminal charges Jan. 21, in the shooting of Pastor Wayne Scott Creach.

But the Sheriff opened an internal review of Hirzel's actions the next day, and the Creach family has helped draft two pieces of proposed legislation that have been circulated in Olympia.

Greg Conner, of the sheriff's Office of Professional Standards, and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich say the internal review will be completed at the end of May. Some components of the review, such as the Force Review Panel, have been completed but neither Conner nor Knezovich will reveal its findings.

"I don't want to piece-meal this thing," Knezovich says.

Both also say Hirzel has not yet been interviewed as part of the internal review.

Meanwhile, the Puyallup-based Freedom Restoration Project has presented two potential bills to legislators arising out of the Creach shooting. One would remove the need to prove "malice" or "bad faith" to obtain a conviction of a law enforcement officer in an unjustified homicide.

The second bill would affirm state law does not allow local police the use of unmarked cars. Sen. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, has expressed interest in reviewing this, says Kevin Schmadeka of the Freedom Restoration Project.

Any action taken on either bill will come next session, Schmadeka says.

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