Inquest Into Clemmons Shooting Begins

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee April 6, 2010

Seattle police officer Benjamin Kelly, who fatally shot Maurice Clemmons in South Seattle last December, described the moments that led up to the shooting at an inquest on Monday.

From KIRO:

It took Officer Benjamin Kelly less than one minute Monday to describe the event that led to Clemmons' death.

He said it started when he was checking out a stolen vehicle with its hood up and running in south Seattle in the early morning hours of Dec. 1. Kelly said he saw a man approaching his vehicle on the driver’s side and got out of the squad car.

"I turned to address him and that is basically when he looked up for the first time, and I saw his face and immediately recognized him as Maurice Clemmons,” Kelly said.

He said he had been alerted to watch for Clemmons during his shift.

“The second he looked up and we were face-to-face and I recognized him, the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘OK, I'm kind of in trouble here, I better start doing something’ and the first thing out of my mouth was, I couldn’t clearly see his hands which were down to his side was, ‘Let me see your hands,’” Kelly said. Rather than show his hands, Kelly testified Clemmons went for his waistband.“I thought I could be dead in a matter of seconds,” Kelly said.

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