PORT TOWNSEND — A demonstration in Port Townsend at 1 p.m. today will mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Stonechild Chiefstick, a Native man killed by Poulsbo Police during an Independence Day celebration last year.
The solidarity action and protest will be on the corner of Sims Way and Kerney Street.
Stonechild Chiefstick, 39, a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe with ties to the Suquamish Tribe, was killed by Poulsbo Officer Craig Keller after reportedly threatening people attending a Fourth of July event with a screwdriver. The death was ruled justified by the Kitsap County prosecutor.
Poulsbo police first made contact with Chiefstick earlier in the day to discuss complaints they had been hearing from the public. They made contact again, just before the fireworks show, which resulted in a physical altercation. Keller’s body camera was dislodged. The footage does not show the shots fired at Chiefstick, but they can be heard.
The autopsy report showed that Chiefstick had been shot in the face and chest.
Keller was put on administrative leave while an independent investigation was conducted by the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team (KCIRT), a group of law enforcement officials sans Poulsbo Police.
KCIRT concluded its investigation in October 2019 and handed its findings over to Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney Chad Enright, who after a further investigation ruled on April 17 that Keller was justified in shooting Chiefstick and would not face criminal charges.
Chiefstick’s death ignited discussions about police interactions with Native Americans, who are statistically three times more likely to be killed by police, though their cases are often under reported, according to a FiveThirtyEight blog.