Two Seattle police officers who unleashed a barrage of gunshots at a fleeing car last year, wounding the driver and a passenger, have been fired after a lengthy internal investigation, reports the Seattle Times. In strongly worded disciplinary reports released Monday, Interim Police Chief Carmen Best found that officers Kenneth Martin and Tabitha Sexton recklessly fired at the stolen car after failing to follow department policies. “Police officers have immense responsibilities and wide-ranging potential to impact the lives of the public,” Best wrote to each officer. “It’s our central mission to keep the public safe. Your actions and decisions did the opposite: they created a deadly force situation that unnecessarily threatened public safety.”
Her decision comes less than a week after Mayor Jenny Durkan nominated Best for the permanent chief’s job. Best was appointed interim chief in January following the departure of Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. Although the driver and passenger weren’t seriously injured, the disciplinary reports and internal-investigation findings depict a chaotic scene in which the outcome could have led to unwarranted deaths or serious injuries and possible harm to bystanders who could have been struck by errant gunfire. Top department staff had recommended the firings of Martin, who joined the department in 2015, and Sexton, who joined in 2007. The two officers were notified of the chief’s decision in the last few days after separately meeting with Best to offer explanations for their actions.