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An Open Letter to the Mayor’s Office of Seattle on The Killing of Ryan Matthew Smith – Raise the Voices

Rose and her son Ryan Matthew Smith from

To: The Mayor’s Office of Seattle 

Hello Kamaria – I am a reporter with Raise the Voices, an advocacy journalism organization.

We are writing the story of Rose Johnson, the mother of Ryan Matthew Smith who was shot 12 times by officers Christopher Myers and Ryan Beecroft on May 8 2019 in Lower Queen Anne, Seattle.

Officer Myers has a history of killing two other Black men prior to Ryan Matthew Smith and has shot one Hispanic man, Jose Manuel Cardenas-Muratalla, in 2010. However, we have not been able to find any evidence of disciplinary action and Officer Myers who has shot and killed three Black men and has shot one Hispanic man, remains on the force and interacting with the public.

 We have reviewed the video of the shooting and it seems clear that deescalation was not used, and the shooting was done in a hysterical manner with no effort to interact or deescalate. 

Can your office respond in the context of the current day, and in regards to the statement by Mayor yesterday that 

“People have been gathering to demand change, to demand justice and to demand that the promise of America – the promise of America – not be just a promise for just the privileged few, but for all. Too many in America, and in Seattle are tired of words and promises. We must make real and durable change.

 “In committing to those changes, we must admit and acknowledge the deep, deep systemic racial barriers are real and affect, as I said, every system in our society. 

For denial of the truth – the denial of truth – is the life blood and oxygen that injustice needs to continue.” 

Rose Johnson has also reported that the King County Sheriff was supposed to be doing an independent review of the police department self-investigation, however she was unable to get any response from that office or any copy of the independent investigation. 

Is anything going to be done to take Officer Chris Myers, who has killed three Black men in separate incidents, off the streets before another shooting occurs? 

This letter will be posted publicly as part of our advocacy journalism, along with any response from your office. 

Thank you, Golda Velez 

Reporter, Raise the Voices

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