Former SPD officer Ian Birk will not face charges in shooting of woodcarvero

More info on the killing of John T. Williams here.

From the Seattle Times


Federal prosecutors will not charge former Seattle police Officer Ian Birk in the shooting death of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams.

Sources have confirmed that a grand jury reviewing the Aug. 30, 2010, shooting determined it could not charge the officer in the death.

The Department of Justice last April announced it would review the shooting after King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said that state law precluded him from charging former Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk with a crime.

The federal investigation examined whether former Officer Ian Birk violated the civil rights of Williams when he shot and killed him on a downtown city sidewalk. Williams, who was a well-known public inebriate and was hard of hearing, did not respond to Birk’s repeated demands that he drop a pocket knife he was carrying. A department review of the shooting found that Birk acted outside the department’s “policy, tactics and training” when he shot Williams four times just seconds after exiting his police vehicle.

The federal investigation was separate from a probe into the Seattle Police Department by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, which concluded last month that the SPD has a “pattern and practice” of using illegal, excessive force. Most of the victims of that abuse, the DOJ said, were people of color, the mentally ill and those under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The DOJ concluded that there was not sufficient data to determine whether the department engages in biased policing, but said the incomplete evidence was troubling.

Satterberg announced in February that the state could not charge Birk because the law required prosecutors to show the officer acted with malice and without good faith. Birk, 28, who had been an officer for two years, resigned from after Satterberg’s announcement. The City of Seattle settled with Williams’ family for $1.5 million.

Williams’ shooting resulted in a public outrage and was pivotal in uniting community groups to demand accountability from the department. There had been earlier videotaped incidents — an officer slugging a teenage jaywalker, for instance — but none reverbated in the community like the patrol-car dash-cam video of Williams ambling across the intersection in front of Birk’s car, a pocket knife and board in his hands. Birk was seen crossing in front of the car, in pursuit, his weapon drawn, and then a series of shots a few seconds later. Native American and civil rights groups protested the shooting

The department’s credibility was further damaged when it had to withdraw a statement made at the scene that Williams had advanced on the officer. An King County Inquest jury was divided over the question of whether Birk felt he was threatened when he fired.

The shooting was a pivotal in the decision by the Washington Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union to send a letter in late 2010, signed by 34 Seattle-area community groups, asking the DOJ to investigate the SPD. The DOJ announced its civil investigation last April, and at the same time confirmed that a separate criminal probe was ongoing into the Williams shooting.

The DOJ report, issued last month, found that use-of-force issues in the department were exacerbated by the fact that nearly a third of its officers had less than three years on the force.


More info on the incident and case here.

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About Vince

I am a Tlingit, born and raised in Tlingit Country, and a proud member of the Tlingit Nation.
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One Response to Former SPD officer Ian Birk will not face charges in shooting of woodcarvero

  1. Red Mann says:

    START TO PRACTICE IMMEDIATELY IN YOUR SMALL TOWN OR BIG CITY, NO MATTER WHERE IT IS,
    ANARCHISTIC CAPITALISM IMMEDIATELY!

    “CHANT “NO MORE “CENTRAL CONTROL GOVERNMENT, NO MORE WORLD INDUSTRIALISTS.

    IT WILL NOT MATTER IF THE 1% AGREE!
    DO NOT ASK PERMISSION!

    START GROWING INDUSTRIAL HEMP!
    IMMEDIATELY!

    NO PERMISSION FROM THE u.s. OF TERROR FED GOV. and their MOST CORRUPT DEA.

    Here is a PARTIAL list of the companies whose products you can PUT OUT OF BUSINESS by growing, harvesting, and producing EVERYTHING LOCALLY. EMPLOYING YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS –

    NOT SLAVE LABOR IN CHINA OR INDIA!

    1.) Toilet Paper
    2.) ALL OF YOUR DIESEL FUEL OIL NEEDS ARE REPLACED WITH HEMP SEED OIL. NO NEED TO MODIFY DIESEL ENGINES.
    3.) CLOTH All of the fabric needed for your clothes, shoes, rope, carpet, hell, “automobile bodies, for that matter. COTTON IS NO LONGER THE IMAGINARY “KING” OF PLANTS — OVERNIGHT!
    4.) FOOD – An important part of your DIET — FOOD – WHERE YOU ACTUALLY KNOW WHERE IT CAME FROM! AGAIN!
    5.) PLASTICS – PUT ALL PLASTIC POLYMER COMPANIES (DOW, DUPONT, HUNTSMAN) OUT OF BUSINESS WITH POLYMERS EXTRACTED FROM HEMP.
    6.) ALL GRADES OF PAPER – Produce all of your paper needs locally – from toilet/tissue to “fine paper”. Put IP OUT OF BUSINESS OVERNIGHT.
    7.) BRING DOWN ALL THE PHARMACY COMPANIES OVERNIGHT!

    YOU WANT TO SAVE TREES?
    YOU WANT “REVENGE” ON THESE CORPS?

    DO THIS AND IP’S ASSETS ARE DE-VALUED TREMENDOUSLY AS “DEMAND” FOR THEIR “PAPER PRODUCTS” WENT AWAY!

    YOU WANT REVENGE?

    ALL YOUR PIG POLICE & PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS PENSION PLANS WILL “CRASH” WHEN IP’S ASSETS AND STOCK PRICE GOES SOUTH OVERNIGHT!!!!!!!

    IMAGINE “LITTLE PIGGIES” AND RETIRED BIA “EMPLOYEES” WITH NO MONTHLY CHECK!

    NOW, REPEAT THIS PROCESS INTO EVERY INDUSTRY YOU HAVE in the US of TERROR.

    Anyway, you stupid, ball-less, small-minded amerikans will continue to poison yourself on an individual basis and your LAND OF THE FREE turns into one big PRISON!

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