From Tragedy Comes Beauty: Memorial Pole Erected for John T. Williams
Indian Country Today
A storm of outrage ripped through Seattle after the shooting death of Ditidaht First Nation carver John T. Williams on August 30, 2010 by a city policeman. There were marches in the streets, angry demands for justice and an investigation by the police department. The officer resigned after he had been cleared of all criminal charges by the King County prosecutor’s office, and a U.S. Justice Department investigation found widespread use of excessive force by Seattle police, a report released in December 2011 said.
On February 26, a 34-foot totem pole was raised at Seattle Center, near the city’s famous Space Needle.
Through it all, Williams’s brother, Rick, was a standard-bearer for peace. He devoted his time to creating a monument to his brother that will, after the players in this drama are long gone, tell of what happened in Seattle in 2010, how an injustice brought people together. “Anger doesn’t serve anything,” Williams said one chilly December morning on the Seattle waterfront. “They took something beautiful from my family. I want to give something beautiful back.”