From Iceland — State Prosecutor: Fatal Police Shooting Legal, But Changes Are Needed

State Prosecutor: Fatal Police Shooting Legal, But Changes Are Needed

Published June 18, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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The police committed no wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a gunman last December, the State Prosecutor has determined, but the matter does underscore some needed changes to the system.

Vísir reports that investigations of how the police dealt with the Sævar Rafn Jónasson case last December have come to two major conclusions, according to the State Prosecutor: police acted within the bounds of the law, and there is a need for an independent body to investigate the police.

Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, whose office supervises the police force, agrees.

“I second the proposal that we need to examine the operation of such investigations in the future,” she said. “I will carefully study the proposed improvements the State Prosecutor has sent, and forward them to the ministry.”

As reported, shots fired from an apartment in Árbær in the early morning hours of December 2 brought police to the scene. In the ensuing stand-off, police eventually raided the gunman’s apartment, fatally wounding him.

Sigríður Ósk Jónasdóttir, the sister of the shooter, told reporters at the time that he had struggled with mental illness for decades, but never received adequate help.

“This is a direct consequence of a weak health care system for the mentally ill,” she told reporters. “He was in really poor condition, which only got worse. There are no options for these people, and there are plenty of people across the country who are ticking time-bombs.”

Related reading:

Examining The First Use Of Lethal Force By Icelandic Police

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