Community Reacts to Tasi Toxicology Reports
ANCHORAGE - It has been more than a month since 26-year-old Shane Tasi was shot and killed by an Anchorage police officer in front of his home in Mountain View.
“They’re in deep mourning for the loss of their husband and father,” said Phillip Weidner, attorney for the Tasi family.
Police say on the night of June 9, when Officer Boaz Gionson fired at Tasi after police say he threatened him with a broken broomstick, he had alcohol, marijuana, and four chemicals associated with synthetic marijuana, commonly known as spice, in his system.
"One of the things that concerned and perplexed the detectives as they were working the case was the fact that they heard from several sources that Mr. Tasi was acting out of character on that evening, when he confronted Officer Gionson,” said Lieutenant Dave Parker, spokesman for the Anchorage Police Department.
Investigators say this could explain his behavior that night.
“This synthetic marijuana especially has had some very strange results in people, and the mixture of drugs -- we don't know how the drugs interact with one another,” said Parker.
But Tasi's family attorney, Phillip Weidner, says this should not excuse the officer's actions.
“It appeared that they have alluded to alcohol and marijuana, as some type of justification for their actions, and that’s simply not true, there's absolutely not justification for what transpired,” said Weidner.
He says more needs to be done.
“I’m disheartened that the Anchorage police have investigated themselves, that the state of Alaska has supposedly cleared the officer without it being subjected to an independent investigation,” he said.
Others in the Polynesian community, including Ma'o Tosi, say it's a tragic event that has sparked a movement.
“It’s always sad to lose a life, but you want to try to find a silver lining within that, which is, we will come together, there is an awareness that's out there,” said Tosi.
What is done with that awareness still remains to be seen.
“It’s not just a Polynesian problem in anyway, it’s all communities, all people here in Alaska,” he said.