The Legal Issues Of Police Deadly Force | KUOW News and Information

The Legal Issues Of Police Deadly Force

Dec 11, 2014

Seattle attorney Jeff Robinson recently addressed a gathering at the University Of Washington School Of Law. It had been just over a week since a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

Robinson titled his talk "You Can Observe a Lot Just by Watching: The Killing of Michael Brown and the Transparent Grand Jury Investigation." 

In it he explores the factual, ethical, and legal issues raised by law enforcement’s use of deadly force in communities of color. Robinson bases his inquiry on four questions:

  • Was the grand jury process in Ferguson the equivalent of those in other jurisdictions across the country? 
  • Did race play a role in the outcome and subsequent understanding of the encounter?
  • Did militarized training of the police officers play a role in the outcome of the encounter?
  • And what role can law students, professors and lawyers play in a situation like this?

Robinson graduated from Harvard Law School in 1981. He spent the next seven years representing indigent clients in state court and then in federal court in Seattle. He has extensive experience representing clients in lengthy grand jury investigations that resulted in no indictment.

Robinson spoke at William H. Gates Hall at the University of Washington on December 2. Washington Supreme Court Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud and former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan attended the event and joined in the discussion.