Eureka Police Department forms Community Shooting Review Board

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EUREKA- Law enforcement and community members will take a closer look at the officer involved shooting that resulted in the death of a 22-year-old man in Eureka more than three months ago.

Thomas McClain was shot by Officer Stephen Linfoot on September 17th, after McClain was reportedly seen reaching for a BB gun in his waistband, that authorities thought was a firearm at the time.  While the district attorney has already decided not to pursue charges in this case, The Eureka Police Department is conducting an additional review with a Community Shooting Review Board.

Two members of the EPD, the Humboldt County Coroner, two Eureka City Council Members and one local attorney will be on the board.

"The district attorney has already said it's a legal, justifiable homicide, so based on that, now we're going to move forward with the administrative review portion of this," said Police Chief Andrew Mills with the EPD.

Members of the board will be given copies of the EPD’s policies and procedures, as well as access to the full investigation.

"They'll be able to sit down and take a look at that, discuss it, take a look at the policy, the training, the procedures and determine whether or not it was within or not in the policy," Police Chief Mills said.

The board could make recommendations to the department based off its findings.

"It certainly could adjust policy if they see things in our policy that they don't like or that could be clear, we'll make those adjustments.  It also could come back and say, 'We don't see what the officers could have done differently according to policy or training in this particular incident,'" said Police Chief Mills.

Police Chief Mills says getting viewpoints from people outside law enforcement is important.

"I think it is very important for the community to have confidence that it's not just the police department looking at itself, that it is community members looking at us as well, that it is community leaders looking at what we do," Police Chief Mills said.

He also says transparency is a goal of the Community Review Board.

"The more eyes that look at what we do in a real in depth nature that allows them to see and to pull apart the inner workings, I think that helps," said Police Chief Mills.

The Community Review Board will look at the Thomas McClain shooting on January 15th.  Police Chief Mills says while the board is only scheduled to meet for this shooting, other community boards could meet in the future if needed. A multi-agency group will continue to investigate all officer involved shootings in the future for the District Attorney’s office to consider when handing out possible charges.