VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A week after deputies fatally shot a 21-year-old Black man near Vancouver, Washington during a drug investigation, law enforcement officials have yet to clarify whether he fired a handgun at officers.
They also have not released the names of the three Clark County deputies who fired on Kevin E. Peterson Jr. in a US Bank parking lot in Hazel Dell on Oct. 30, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. And they have not disclosed if detectives found drugs on Peterson or in the car where authorities say they first encountered him.
“All of your questions are valid, however we are unable to answer those,” said Det. Sgt. Marc Langlois of the Longview Police Department, an investigation spokesperson. “The investigation is active and ongoing.”
The lack of transparency comes amid ongoing demonstrations against police brutality that began after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, a Black man. Peterson’s death has led to tense demonstrations in Vancouver.
The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office this week ruled Peterson’s death a homicide and said he died from multiple gunshot wounds. Marissa Armstrong, a county spokeswoman, said the office could not publicly disclose the number of times Peterson was shot or where.
Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik on Tuesday asked the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team, which includes members of the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office and Longview Police Department, to take on the lead role on the independent investigation team.
That role was originally assigned to the Camas Police Department in Clark County. In a news release, investigators said Golik made the request “in an effort to achieve increased independence in the investigation.”