4 Seconds to Death! Charge Ian Birk in Shooting.

On August 30, 2010 a Seattle police officer shot and killed John T. Williams, a Nitinaht member of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Williams was well known in the community as a wood carver. The in-car video camera from the officer's car shows Williams crossing the street in the crosswalk. He held a piece of wood and a 3-inch carving knife in his hand. The officer stopped his car, got out and according to his statement: called out multiple times. It is unclear if Williams heard the officer since he was deaf in one ear, partially deaf in the other and wearing a headset.

So far, no evidence has come to light of any aggressive or threatening act by Williams towards the officer or anyone else. According to the autopsy report Williams was not facing the officer when he was shot 4 times. It has been reported that the SPD Firearms Review Board made a preliminary finding that the shooting was not justified and the officer's badge and gun have been surrendered. An inquest is scheduled but the prosecutor may file charges now.



In an open letter from the ACLU to Mayor McGinn, Chief of Police John Diaz and the Seattle City Councilmembers, it is noted that "Too often, officers have overreacted or escalated incidents when the subject is an individual of color, disabled, homeless or, otherwise 'different'."



Stopping a citizen without cause and engaging in violence on our streets is unacceptable and unlawful. Action must be taken to ensure that the law applies to everyone including the Seattle Police.



What you can do:



Ask the Martin Luther King County Prosecutor's office to charge the officer Ian Birk. 4 seconds from warning to fatality is not acceptable and should not be tolerated by our justice system.

We, the undersigned urge you as the King County Prosecutor to charge Ian Birk in the homicide of John T. Williams.


On August 30, 2010 a Seattle police officer shot and killed John T. Williams, a Nitinaht member of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Williams was well known in the community as a wood carver. The in-car video camera from the officer's car shows Williams crossing the street in the crosswalk. He held a piece of wood and a 3-inch carving knife in his hand. The officer stopped his car, got out and according to his statement: called out multiple times. It is unclear if Williams heard the officer since he was deaf in one ear, partially deaf in the other and wearing a headset.


So far, no evidence has come to light of any aggressive or threatening act by Williams towards the officer or anyone else. According to the autopsy report Williams was not facing the officer when he was shot 4 times. It has been reported that the SPD Firearms Review Board made a preliminary finding that the shooting was not justified and the officer's badge and gun have been surrendered. An inquest is scheduled but the prosecutor may file charges now.


In an open letter from the ACLU to Mayor McGinn, Chief of Police John Diaz and the Seattle City Council members, it is noted that "Too often, officers have overreacted or escalated incidents when the subject is an individual of color, disabled, homeless or, otherwise 'different'."


Stopping a citizen without cause and engaging in violence on our streets is unacceptable and unlawful. Action must be taken to ensure that the law applies to everyone including the Seattle Police.


Thank you for taking the time to read our letter.

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