Justice for Stonechild Chiefstick

Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Justice For Stonechild Chiefstick with red fist, medicine wheel and eagle feather

Stonechild “Stoney” Chiefstick, Sr., a Chippewa Cree and Cowichan man and beloved member of the Suquamish community, was shot and killed by Poulsbo Police Officer Craig Keller in a crowd of people on July 3rd, 2019.

The shooting was investigated by the Kitsap County Incident Response Team (KCIRT), a group drawn from various law enforcement departments, all of which work closely with the Poulsbo Police Department. On April 17, 2020, Kitsap County Prosecutor Chad Enright released his decision not to press criminal charges against Officer Keller. Yet Enright later admitted that “the current system does not appear fair” when local prosecutors are responsible for reviewing criminal conduct of local police, while working alongside those same officers.

After almost a year of community demands for justice, Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson and other city officials are still avoiding taking any meaningful steps toward justice or accountability. The Poulsbo Police Department is currently undergoing an internal review of Keller's actions to determine whether or not he “followed department policy” - though no civil rights or tribal leadership was consulted. Keller was brought back to work in April after eight months of paid leave, with Poulsbo Police Chief Dan Schoonmaker calling him "a man of great character.” However, recently, Keller has again been placed on leave as pressure has mounted for his firing. It is imperative that this pressure continue until justice is served. We demand Officer Keller is fired and that the City of Poulsbo is held accountable for Stoney’s death!

The community has come together to demand justice for Stoney, for his children and family, for Indigenous people across Turtle Island, and for all whose lives have been lost to a racist police system.

Please join our fight for Justice for Stoney and add your name to our demands. We will not tolerate police violence within our community!

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To: Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson
From: [Your Name]

1. Officer Craig Keller must be immediately fired from the Poulsbo Police Department.


2. Reopen the investigation into the killing of Stonechild Chiefstick.

We demand the investigation be reopened and led by a third-party investigative body with community and tribal involvement, as per the requirements of recent legislation, HB-1064, which grew from Initiative-940, e.g. "De-escalate Washington".
Prosecutor Chad Enright overlooked glaring flaws in the investigation into Keller’s actions, including clear conflicts of interest, documented false statements by Keller and other officers at the scene, and their failure to de-escalate the situation. The investigation did not apply meaningful, rigorous analysis for implicit bias, or civil or human rights violations. Community and tribal input was not included in any meaningful way.

We are not satisfied with the process of the KCIRT investigation, nor with its outcome. Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson must intervene to conduct a truly independent investigation in keeping with HB-1064 (initially known as Initiative-940 / "De-escalate Washington").

We demand that the Attorney General closely examine the roles of implicit bias, individual racism, systemic racism, political influence, and conflicts of interest in both Stoney's killing and the KCIRT investigation, as well as the documented discrepancies between the involved officers’ actions and their written statements.

We demand a new investigation that directly engages with the facts: body camera footage showing that Stoney was given less than two seconds to respond to unclear commands before Officer Keller rushed him and opened fire, without attempting to de-escalate or use non-lethal force. This investigation must include the involvement of meaningful, rigorous analysis for implicit bias and for civil and human rights violations. Additionally community members and tribal leaders must be included.


3. The City of Poulsbo must publicly acknowledge its complicity in Stoney's death and commit to fully and wholeheartedly engaging with community demands for accountability, dialogue, and transformative healing.

Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson must acknowledge the role she played in facilitating the officer intervention that led to Stoney's death, as well as subsequent decisions that exacerbated pain and grief in the community she serves. These include: leaving the scene before officers confronted Stoney to avoid "witnessing" the situation; her decision to allow the fireworks celebration to continue just moments after Stoney was killed; and her continual minimization of concerns about intimidation and violence directed against people of color in Poulsbo.

We demand that the annual date of July 3rd no longer be available as an option for an annual fireworks celebration, so that it may instead stand in remembrance of Stoney and in commitment to transformative justice and healing.

The City of Poulsbo must ensure that this never happens again by following the guidance of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC) and human rights groups to implement concrete structural changes.

These actions should include but are not limited to:

Soliciting feedback directly from members of Stoney's family, local Indigenous people, and other people of color to examine how Poulsbo’s culture and institutions perpetuate racism and violence, both explicitly and implicitly.

Contracting with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) (https://www.racialequityalliance.org/) to:
1) conduct a review of city policies policies, with a specific rigorous analysis of implications for and impacts on treatment of Indigenous people and other people of color,
2) make recommendations for reducing entrenched racial bias in Poulsbo’s municipal government and police force, and
3) recommend other anti-racist policies, which the city should implement.

Reallocating funds from the Poulsbo Police Department budget to fund anti-racist institutional changes as outlined by the Suquamish Tribal Council and the Kitsap ERACE Coalition, prioritizing community wellness, public health, and human dignity over the use of punitive and militarized policing.