Victim in May 19 SPD Shooting Identified

By Paul Kiefer

The King County Medical Examiner’s office has provided the C is for Crank with more information about the Black man killed by Seattle Police Department officers on May 19th in Lower Queen Anne. His name was Terry J. Caver, and he was 57 years old.

The incident occurred at about 3:20 PM when at least four officers, including one with a dog, responded to a series of 911 calls describing a man displaying a knife and chasing pedestrians at the intersection of West Harrison Street and Elliott Avenue West, according to images from officers’ body cameras.

Images from body cameras show that the officers approached Caver and demanded that he get on the ground, and Caver continued to walk south on Elliott. A few seconds later, he broke into a jog and threw a piece of clothing back at the officers, revealing what appears to be a kitchen knife. The officers chased him, and Caver yelled, “You’re going to have to kill me.” When he stopped and turned back to face the officers, two – Officers Christopher Gregorio and Matthew Milburn, neither of whom have prior shootings on their records – opened fire. Caver was pronounced dead at the scene when Seattle Fire Department ,edics arrived.

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Per standard procedure in the aftermath of police shootings, representatives from the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) and the Office of the Inspector General were present for the initial investigation, but neither agency is investigating the incident; according to OPA director Andrew Myerberg, nobody—including his office—filed a complaint that would trigger an investigation.

Instead, SPD’s own Force Investigation Team will review the details of the shooting and present them before the Force Review Board for a final ruling. The review board is composed of eight SPD staff (and both the OPA director and the Inspector General as non-voting members).

After the killing of Iosia Faletogo on New Year’s Eve in 2018, SPD began collaborating with King County Sheriff to review use of force cases. As a result, the sheriff’s office is also reviewing the incident.

I have yet to find any other information about Terry Caver’s life, but this update feels incomplete without something that could cast light on who he was. My sources are fairly certain he was unhoused, and it is unclear whether he has any living relatives who might be able to offer more details about him. If you are able to provide any additional information, please email me at paul@thecisforcrank.com.

[Update on 8/13/2020]: Washington State law generally requires use-of-force investigations “completely independent of the agency whose officer was involved in the use of deadly force” (that requirement was part of I-940, a police accountability initiative passed by voters in November 2018). However, in January 2019, the state legislature amended those requirements. One of those amendments exempted law enforcement agencies under “federal consent decree, federal settlement agreement, or federal court order” from the independent investigation requirement in use of force cases. Because of that exemption, SPD’s Force Investigation Unit is allowed to investigate use-of-force incidents involving SPD officers. 

Additionally, on August 13th, a reader contacted The C is for Crank to explain that he did file a complaint about Terry Caver’s shooting. He included the case number for his complaint and an email he received from the OPA acknowledging its submission; however, the email did not include a copy of his complaint, and the OPA’s complaint tracker does not show the text of complaints. According to the complaint tracker, the complaint was marked for investigation. I have submitted a public records request to obtain a copy of that complaint. 

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