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The Buck Stops with Nobody

The Fallout After a Seattle Police Officer Kills a Half-Deaf Man Holding a Legal Knife

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David Entrikin, Courtesy Of DESC
JOHN T. WILLIAMS Killed August 30.

The recent killing of John T. Williams at the hands of a Seattle Police Department (SPD) officer, which first triggered serious questions and then serious outrage, is now triggering a movement. Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil for the Native American man on September 2, the crowd spilling out onto Second Avenue late into the night. Since then, the mood has shifted from somber to angry—and next week, on September 16, several groups are planning a protest. The details are still forthcoming, but the central message is clear: They want accountability from the police department and city hall—which has so far been lacking.

In its entirety, SPD says that the incident with Williams—from the time Officer Ian Birk pulled over until he fired his gun—happened in under a minute. At 4:15 p.m. on August 30, Birk, a 27-year-old officer who has worked for the SPD for two years, saw Williams crossing Howell Street with a piece of wood and a knife. Footage from an in-car patrol camera shows both men cross in front of the car and move out of view. "The only thing we know for sure is the individual had a knife," said Chief John Diaz at a press conference on August 31. "We know from audio recordings that the officer issued at least three commands for the suspect to drop his knife." But Williams allegedly refused Birk's orders. From approximately 9 to 10 feet away, Birk fired four rounds.

Williams fell to the ground, Birk called for backup, and officers arrived within a minute and a half. Williams was declared dead at the scene. Later, family and friends confirmed that the 50-year-old man was a wood carver from the Ditidaht and Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations tribes in British Columbia and that he was partially deaf. The knife he was carrying had a three-inch blade, which is legal according to the Seattle Municipal Code.

Preliminary reports that Williams lunged at Birk have since been retracted. "We dropped the lunging and advancing [allegations] pending further need for investigation," says police spokesman Sean Whitcomb.

A witness told the Seattle Times, "His body stance did not look threatening at all. I could only see the gentleman's back, and he didn't look aggressive at all. He didn't even look up at the officer."

This is exactly the sort of quick escalation the city has been trying to avoid. Before Diaz was sworn in as the police chief on August 16, the Seattle City Council presented him with a four-point letter highlighting the areas where the SPD needs to make dramatic improvements. The council wrote that Diaz needed to "quickly develop and fully implement the most effective training available for minimizing and de-escalating conflict in encounters between officers and civilians."

Seattle officers and civilians have had a series of high-profile conflicts that escalated rapidly: on September 4, officers using a Taser on a man who later died; an officer punching a 17-year-old girl in the face after a routine jaywalking stop in June; Officer Shandy Cobane apparently stomping the head of a Latino suspect in April while shouting, "I'm going to beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you, homie," as the man lay face down on the pavement (King County prosecutors declined to charge Cobane with a felony hate crime); a mentally disabled teenager allegedly beaten by three officers for jaywalking in July 2009 (exonerated of wrongdoing by SPD's Office of Professional Accountability; the teen has filed a lawsuit against SPD and the City of Seattle).

The Williams incident only exacerbates concerns shared by many in the city that the Seattle Police Department has carte blanche to use excessive force, particularly on marginalized populations.

"The inquest process in King County rarely leads to any form of justice whatsoever," says James Bible, chapter president of the NAACP. "The families are rarely represented. The shootings are almost always deemed justified. There hasn't been a single use-of-force complaint in the past couple of years that the SPD hasn't deemed sustained—as in it never really happened."

Jenine Grey, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, said at the September 2 candlelight vigil for Williams, "We weren't getting answers from the police department. As more details emerged, I got angry. I have a ton of questions... Why did this have to happen? Why didn't the officer subdue him? Why take his life?" Grey added that no one from SPD contacted the Chief Seattle Club or members of Williams's tribe until two days after the shooting. The Chief Seattle Club offers food, shelter, showers, and health care to Native Americans in need of such services.

Mayor Mike McGinn acknowledged those concerns last Friday when reached by phone, but he stopped short of taking responsibility for the police administration and personally seeing that the problem is fixed. "I know that there are concerns in the community about issues around racial profiling or how we treat homeless people," he said. "These are concerns that I share. I think it's critical that our government and our police department are responsive to those concerns."

Diaz said at a press conference after the shooting that he has "a lot more questions than answers." Like McGinn, Diaz vowed a thorough investigation. But he, too, stopped short of taking responsibility for whatever happens.

But those investigations, says Bible, "will probably not render any real results, either. It's more something for those we put in place to be accountable to hide behind."

McGinn defends his pick for police chief. "When I laid out my criteria for selection of a police chief, the issues that I hoped would be raised included issues of race, social justice, and disparate treatment. It's my belief that... the police department has to have a commitment to that. I believe Chief Diaz has that commitment."

Not everyone seems so sure—as evidenced by the protest being planned by the Chief Seattle Club, a union of Native American city employees, the NAACP, Mothers for Police Accountability, and several local tribal leaders.

In the week after the shooting, the Seattle Human Rights Commission and the Native American city employees also expressed grave concern in separate letters to Diaz.

Chief Diaz has stated that his "pledge to citizens is to conduct a transparent investigation, a complete investigation." That internal investigation is conducted by the department's homicide unit. Once that investigation is complete, SPD's firearms review board will determine whether the shooting followed departmental policy. Then the King County Prosecutor's Office will have an inquest.

"The investigation won't be enough," Bible reiterates. "If you are going to have a community policing model, you have to reach out to all of the community. Really force some degree of change, be accountable." recommended

This story has been updated since its original publication.

 

Comments (101) RSS

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1
If the horn would have dropped the knife when asked (0rdered) by the officer, an investigation would have shown it was a 3" blade. How was he to know before hand. Do you have rulers on your eyes? When you people start listening to the police and doing what they tell you, you won't get hurt. Complain later..... You are not equal to the police when they are giving you a lawful command.... they are superior to you. Yes you pay their salaries, at least those of you who actually work and don't belly up to the government tit.... Complain after if you don't agree... if you don't listen you may end up dead like the horn...... He got what he had coming.....
Posted by Seattle Sheeple Herder on September 8, 2010 at 12:34 PM · Report this
TortoiseTurtle 2
"You are not equal to the police when they are giving you a lawful command.... they are superior to you."

That's enough out of you. You've shown your idiocy.
Posted by TortoiseTurtle http://slog.thestranger.com on September 8, 2010 at 12:48 PM · Report this
More, I Say! 3
@2 srsly. No one gets to use 'sheeple' and get away with it, as far as I'm concerned. (but for the record, i DO have rulers on my eyes.)
Posted by More, I Say! on September 8, 2010 at 12:57 PM · Report this
aardvark 4
@1 - Sure, as a general rule of common sense, don't fuck with anybody that has a loaded gun and can get away with killing you without much consequence. But that's about it.

Anyway your point is irrelevant. The guy couldn't even hear the cop and apparently didn't know what was happening.

You are just a mindless advocate of authoritarian police state submission. The police are public servants bitch. Wipe my ass.
Posted by aardvark on September 8, 2010 at 1:36 PM · Report this
5
I wonder if the officer knew who Mr. Williams was. I cannot imagine an officer who works downtown regularly would not have recognized him.
Posted by Reg on September 8, 2010 at 2:03 PM · Report this
6
@1 - Trollin hard there buddy...
Posted by jns on September 8, 2010 at 2:16 PM · Report this
7
From #1: Then the drunkard horn should have had "Don't Taze me Bro I'm deaf" scrawled across his forehead... Like the cop knew? Bottom line... cop tells you to drop something, get down, hands up, don't move etc..... DO IT Fools!!!!!!
Posted by Seattle Sheeple Herder on September 8, 2010 at 3:27 PM · Report this
8
#1 You're probably a cop, or have a brother that's a cop. Everyone makes mistakes. The problem when the police make mistakes is that someone gets hurt or killed. The problem with a society that has no ability to police the police is that mistakes no longer are treated as mistakes. (we're going through this now). They are not corrected, and more people are subjected to those mistakes. Now its the marginalized, but soon enough it will be your wife or son coming home from a football game one night and ends up mouthing off for jaywalking after the game. Oh I forget, they have it coming. #1 you are a full blown calloused asshole who by your own definition has it coming.
Posted by jaansdornea on September 8, 2010 at 3:48 PM · Report this
9
@1: Always great to get the law enforcement perspective. Thanks for your dedicated service to the community, and I hope you are absolved like every other one of your force who's killed people without so much as a reprimand.
Posted by maddogm13 on September 8, 2010 at 4:14 PM · Report this
10
Uh, what's a "horn"? And I thought I knew all the racial slurs, but every jack-booted thug can always make new ones up.
Posted by don'tknowwhethertolaughorcry on September 8, 2010 at 4:37 PM · Report this
11
Uh, what's a "horn"? I thought I knew every racial slur, but I guess every jack-booted cracker redneck thug can think of new ones every day...
Posted by don'tknowwhethertolaughorcry on September 8, 2010 at 4:42 PM · Report this
12
There's something horrible when you hear your friend at work suddenly say "That guy who was shot by the cops, he's my uncle."
Homeless people have families too. It's a shame that so many people, especially many in law enforcement, cannot see that those who appear different from them are actually very much the same. They are not threats, they are not enemies, they're just people.
Posted by The mayor on September 8, 2010 at 5:16 PM · Report this
zoe 13
John was from the Ditidaht First Nation, not Nuu-chah-nulth.
Posted by zoe http://zoeblunt.wordpress.com on September 8, 2010 at 5:41 PM · Report this
14
When the HELL are we going to get a citizen review board?!
Posted by erinld on September 8, 2010 at 6:17 PM · Report this
15
I so regret that I did not know about the police and Seattle Indian Community talk in time or I would be there. I knew John and I don't even frequent downtown. I am especially saddened that it happened to an American Indian, but I am angered that the Seattle Police are apparently targeting people from the margins. Some may try to deny it, but the people hurt listed in Madrid and Holden's article are all minorities and the events have all occurred in the last few months, so they don't even go into all the injuries from the last two years! Diaz is NOT going to change anything. We need some one who will not be so ready to send these cops off with a slap on the hand, while more and more violent acts are being carried out by the police for the merchants, the condo owners, and the other well to do in Seattle, who don't want the unsightly poor in Seattle anymore. I mean seriously, you don't hear about a University of Washington Student getting punched in the face; and jaywalking is rampant up there! You don't hear about U.W. students getting any kind of reprimand for jaywalking, so why are the black young girls and disabled being beat for it? Maybe we need to call AIM.
Posted by RedKut on September 8, 2010 at 7:16 PM · Report this
16
I guess, there's no reason for Officer Ian Birk not to follow the steps of the Officer Johannes Mehserle. Only without the "involuntary" bs this time.
Posted by I'm a stranger on September 8, 2010 at 8:23 PM · Report this
17
The peace officer regardless of giving an order 3 times shot a man who was lawfully and legally carrying a knife. In every way this action is clearly murder, and the minor details of the murder victim being deaf, the knife being just the legal length, the officer fearing for his life as the man kept walking with his back to the officer are nothing more than mitigating factors that can be considered at SENTENCING. These are not excuses.

It is clear that the peace officer breached the peace by giving an illegal & unlawful order for the murder victim to drop the knife, and after 3 attempts putting 4 rounds into the murder victim's back.

It is clear that the peace officer violated both the 5th & 14th Amendment guarantee to the person, that no person shall be deprived of the right to LIFE, liberty, & property without due process of law, as due process of law demands a hearing before an impartial judge & jury, and there is no mention of that, nor time to conduct a hearing in under a minute.

It is clear that the DA, the Sheriff, and the Mayor are far more concerned about PR & liability than they are about prosecuting a self proclaiming murderer.

It is clear that the system has either, or both, no will, and/or no ability to prosecute one of their own, who by all means is guilty of murder.

It is clear that the Peace Officer will get off, the city, the police department, & the peace officer may get sued and lose, but money will never bring back the murdered victim, nor his carvings.

In a government of law, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.

-Justice Louis Brandeis-Olmstead v. US (1928)
More...
Posted by detersbb on September 8, 2010 at 8:40 PM · Report this
18
You know what kind of investigation I'd love The Stranger to do? Dig through old police records for the last, say, 5 to 10 years, and look for incidents in which officers were physically harmed. Then, report how many of the injuries/fatalities were caused by suspects with knives. I've noticed that police departments often say that they have had officers killed by assailants with knives, and as such holding a knife is enough to justify deadly force. But does this pan out in Seattle, or is it just the excuse it sounds like?
Posted by sahara6126 on September 8, 2010 at 8:42 PM · Report this
19
"Seattle officers and civilians have had a series of high-profile conflicts that escalated rapidly: ..."

What these thugs fail to realize, and the media continues to sell you this bs, is that they are "civilians" too. They are not some special breed or any more special than the average person just because they get to wear a government issued costume. What kind of punk coward shoots someone from 10 feet away when that person isn't even presenting a threat?

If I were standing "9 to 10" feet away from someone with a knife, no matter what the size was, and that person was not acting in a threating manner, or even looking at me, and I decided to shoot and kill them, I would be facing murder charges. This costumed thug should get the same. Charge his sorry ass with murder and throw him to the prison wolves where he belongs. They'll love his little 27 year old former cop ass in prison.
Posted by NoPoliceState on September 8, 2010 at 8:46 PM · Report this
20
Four years ago I sat with John Williams out in front of Rudy's on Capitol Hill while I was waiting for a hair cut. I had never met him before, I struck up a conversation with him about his woodcarving that he was working on.

He told me about his art, his people, and his life in general. He was a very nice man, and we had a very good conversation, I actually thanked him for telling me his story. I asked him if he would be offended if I gave him unsolicited advice...he said go ahead. I told him that a man such as himself should get the hell out of Seattle, and make his way back to the reservation, or at least back to British Columbia. I told him that the streets of our fair city were too violent for a gentle man such as himself, and maybe life on the reservation had improved.

I told him these things because I thought someone would abuse or kill him because he lived on the street, or appeared to most of the time...and I was right, although I never thought it would be some coward in a uniform. Who shoots a man four times in the back for having a three inch knife...a deaf man...a frail man...seriously, what kind of pussy does that shit? What a fucking disgrace, what a disgusting display. This city is a fucking joke, Seattle is the land of cowards and joke pig wanna be liberals...this town used to be worth a shit, but no more.

I met the man one time, but when I saw the picture in this article, I remembered his face at once. I hope that John Williams is at peace now, chilling with his ancestors. I really want to make anyone that reads this understand how gentle and respectful this individual was when me and my girlfriend just happened to meet him on the street...I thought I would never feel this way, but fuck this stupid fucking shit town, I can't wait to get the fuck out. Watch out you idiots, the cops might blow you away next for not "following orders"...lawful or not. Citizen review board my ass, this pussy city has no citizens that have the balls to review shit without pissing their panties and letting the cops run rough shod over anyone they please.
More...
Posted by HaggisHatesU on September 8, 2010 at 9:28 PM · Report this
21
Had this man threatened anyone? I have often wondered if I have the right to defend myself if the police were to suddenly jump on me believing I was someone else? Do I have to subject myself to their orders or violence if I am not doing anything wrong? I'm sure that it would be that way in the courts, and I'm sure that it is the common sense thing to do, but isn't it ethically and morally wrong to subject ourselves to arbitrary violence and search and seizure from authority? Isn't that in the Constitution? Oh yeah:

Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Posted by CreatifVision on September 8, 2010 at 9:43 PM · Report this
22
Is the guy ex military? (Iraq/Afghanistan?)
Posted by caz on September 8, 2010 at 10:16 PM · Report this
23
"an officer punching a 17-year-old girl in the face after a routine jaywalking stop in June"

Routine disingenuous Stranger crap.
Posted by Ed the Ed on September 8, 2010 at 10:22 PM · Report this
24
This is a flat out murder. This cop should be immediately suspended without pay and tried for first degree murder. You can shoot someone in the leg once and disable them, four times is murder my friends. That cop should be in prison.
Posted by rastabilly on September 8, 2010 at 11:28 PM · Report this
25
Elmvale Ontario Canada, 2009. Mildly retarded Doug Minty murdered.

He was shot by a lone ontario provincial police officer after being accused of threatening a door to door salesman.

Shot at seven times, hit five at close range for refusing to drop the butter knife he allegedly carried.

Would it be so wrong for the pigs to back up and wait it out once in a while?

Doug Minty was a big gentle dummy. He must have looked like satan with that butter knife in his hand though.

The cop got off due to "no criminal intent". Don't try that defence yourself, only works for the bacon!
Posted by Jim321 on September 9, 2010 at 4:50 AM · Report this
26
How many people attending the vigil ignored him on a daily basis while he was alive? Seattle needs to wake up and show daily concern for our less fortunate instead of engaging in armchair activism for only high profile incidents.
Posted by albinosasquatch on September 9, 2010 at 7:28 AM · Report this
27
Cops=cowardly pussy gangbangers in blue. Kill every cop in amerika! No seriously kill em all. They do NOTHING for you. Fuckin army of the rich.
Posted by f8te on September 9, 2010 at 7:44 AM · Report this
28
Do you people really want to live in a city where insane homeless people brandish knives in public and the cops don't do anything about it? I know I wouldn't but I'm not from Seatle so what do I know.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2010 at 8:48 AM · Report this
Godzilla1916 29
@28 "Insane homeless people" Can you listen to yourself? Are you so full of fear that you jump on the "mob" bandwagon of judgement and prosecution? Do you ever question authority; or will you quietly lay down on the ground under the boots of SPD pigs when they come to shoot yer ass for brandishing a nail file? John was a wood carver with a LEGAL knife in hand; this is clearly a case of SPD OVER REACTION; testosterone pumped little boys with erection problems. Fuck em all. Yeah, cops suck.
Posted by Godzilla1916 on September 9, 2010 at 9:13 AM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 30
@13, Thanks. I was told by his cousin he was Nuu-chah-nulth, no mention of Ditidaht, and other news outlets have reported him as being from both. We're updating the article to mention both.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on September 9, 2010 at 9:20 AM · Report this
31
Ken Mehlman:

Do you really want to live in a city, or country, where insane police officers brandish sidearms and use them against people who have do nothing wrong, nothing illegal, and nothing unlawful, whose only offense is to not immediately defer to what is as a matter of law and fact an illegal & unlawful order, and the good, or unfortunate citizens, who reside there do do anything about it?

I do know, though I am not from Seattle, but I live in America. I have served in the Armed Forces for over 10.5 years, and am currently a member of my state's national guard. I have served with people who have fought & died to ensure freedom and the rule of law remains in this country.

For someone to bow down & defer to fear and declare a fealty to unlawful & illegal authority exercised to what amounts to an execution is a slap unto the face of every service member that has ever served. It is your right to express these views. It is your right to hold these beliefs. It is my right to tell you people like you make me sick and regret the service I have given to try to protect freedom, while you ask for arbitrary authority exercised without hindrance of the rule of law, checks & balances,administrative appeal, 3rd party oversight-review, etc...
Posted by detersbb on September 9, 2010 at 9:24 AM · Report this
32
@28 In Portland there is a man who rides a bike with a samurai sword strapped to his back.

You should probably just stay in your safe little white, upper middle class town. It's too dangerous for you out here.
Posted by kersy on September 9, 2010 at 10:06 AM · Report this
33
Dontcha love when some dumb conservative sonofabitch feels like he wants to educate people to his way of thinking, and accomplishes nothing but making himself look like an ass?

Yeah, I'm talkin' to you, #1.
Posted by Hater Jonny on September 9, 2010 at 10:35 AM · Report this
34
As sad as it is Police chief Diaz will surely cover up this murder and slap the cop on the wrist. I dont give a f*ck who you are if you got a loaded glock and some one has a small knife 10 ft away, you are in complete control of the situation and are not in harms way...... He did not need to be killed, he did not need to be shot 4 times center mass, this is murder, if it was rich white Bellevue kid there would be action taken already. RIP totem guy, i used to walk by you all the time on my commute to work.
Posted by Jake legend on September 9, 2010 at 10:52 AM · Report this
35
As sad as it is Police chief Diaz will surely cover up this murder and slap the cop on the wrist. I dont give a f*ck who you are if you got a loaded glock and some one has a small knife 10 ft away, you are in complete control of the situation and are not in harms way...... He did not need to be killed, he did not need to be shot 4 times center mass, this is murder, if it was rich white Bellevue kid there would be action taken already. RIP totem guy, i used to walk by you all the time on my commute to work.
Posted by Jake legend on September 9, 2010 at 11:03 AM · Report this
36
What is an 'unregistered comment'?
Posted by laurijst on September 9, 2010 at 12:05 PM · Report this
37
This is too sad. I met John while working in Pioneer Square about 10 years ago. He was gentle and sweet and sad. Any cop working that neighborhood should have known he was a wood carver. Christ. John deserved better than he got in life and now this.
Posted by Montana Rust on September 9, 2010 at 1:05 PM · Report this
icouldliveinhope 38
Has anyone figured out what "horn" means yet? Urban Dictionary is not being particularly illuminating.

It'd be pretty nice if everyone could walk down the street even on a bad day without worrying about whether they'd have to react within three seconds to a cop thinking they look suspicious.
Posted by icouldliveinhope on September 9, 2010 at 1:06 PM · Report this
39
I don't live in Seattle. I have spent a fair amount of time there, as my daughter lives in Belltown. I have been to the market a hand full of times over the last year. I knew who Mr Williams was and walked past him every time I visited the Pike Place Market and every single time I thought to myself that the next time I was there, walking by the park bench next to Cutters, I wanted to buy one of John Williams carvings, each time, unfortunately I wasn't carrying any cash. Now I will never get that chance, thanks to a trigger happy rookie SPD officer. My question is this: If I didn't live in Seattle, visiting occasionally, and I knew who Mr. Williams was, and that he was a Native American wood carver, how is it that a Seattle police officer who worked those streets DAILY for the last TWO YEARS, did not (or so he claims) know of this man? In my opinion, and we all have a right to our own, the officer is full of crap and trying to defend his ILLEGAL actions!

Btw, I never in a million years thought I would feel the need to tell one of my children to be careful of the POLICE! It sickens me to think she could be shot for carrying a pocket knife! I carry one, it is a tool. I use it for cleaning my fingernails, removing slivers, opening packages, etc.

In addition, ANY police officer would know a three inch folding blade if they saw one! They are suppose to be trained in weapons, no? Hey, maybe the cop was a tree hugger and didn't want Mr. Williams to hurt the poor defenseless chunk of wood he held in his other hand...
Posted by mothertrucker67 on September 9, 2010 at 2:39 PM · Report this
40
@1 fuck you. yes they are superior to you.
Posted by masgroovy on September 9, 2010 at 4:30 PM · Report this
41
The culture starts at the top. Get rid of Diaz, or guarantee he gets rid of Birt and let's every officer know that open season is closed.
Posted by WenG on September 9, 2010 at 8:30 PM · Report this
42
Trigger happy idiots shouldn't be able to carry a loaded weapon, I agree with jake legend. RIP mr williams.
Im from washington state, grew up here joined the army and got stationed in fort lewis, my family and I have toured seattle (husbands from the east coast) a total of 6 times in 3 years and could point mr williams out in a second. We have talked to him about his work the past 2 visits.
I think its crap how double standards exist expecially with people who have the upper hand. (See it in the army allllll the time)
Posted by douglas87 on September 9, 2010 at 8:52 PM · Report this
43
Regarding the cop who was given a free pass after stomping a citizens head while shouting racial epithets:
Don't mess around. Go directly to the FBI,
and file a federal civil rights complaint. (By the way, these laws are to protect ALL citizens,
not just persons of color) If your local cops insist on lying, let them do it under oath to the FBI.
Unlawful police violence must not be tolerated.
Posted by kapasao on September 9, 2010 at 9:16 PM · Report this
44
Cops want to go home at the end of the day too. Half deaf? Take your headphones off of your good ear. Carrying a knife? Put it down. Why is this so difficult for people to understand? I'm not an authoritarian, and I'm not trying to say that the cops are never wrong, but we clearly have another situation where an individual failed to exercise common sense while interacting with the police. That's called natural selection.
Posted by nutxaq on September 9, 2010 at 9:36 PM · Report this
45
Natural selection sounds terribly suspiciously Nazi, Nutxag (cool handle, man).

Ten feet away. A legal blade. A block of wood. A frail man. Four (or more?) bullets.

Pick a history book, dog. Read any narrative of oppression. You won't even need to bother with the astute (and not so) comments on a Stranger article.

Posted by e23 on September 9, 2010 at 10:42 PM · Report this
misssmartypants 46
He was shot 4 times? Are you kidding me? That my friends, was an assasination.
Posted by misssmartypants on September 9, 2010 at 10:43 PM · Report this
47
Natural selection sounds terribly suspiciously Nazi, Nutxag (cool handle, man).

Ten feet away. A legal blade. A block of wood. A frail man. Four (or more?) bullets.

Pick a history book, dog. Read any narrative of oppression. You won't even need to bother with the astute (and not so) comments on a Stranger article.
Posted by e23 on September 9, 2010 at 10:43 PM · Report this
48
liberals seattle assholes figure you would comment on this go live your safe little lives and comment on grown up issues like you do you fucks cant even drive let alone comment on a job as tuff as being a police officer serve your espressos to me and shut the fuck up
Posted by reality2check on September 10, 2010 at 2:58 AM · Report this
49
@reality2check grown up issues? A man dying cause of a trigger happy asshole to me my friend is an "grown up issue" a slap on the fuckin hand for a "trained seattle police officer"
As tough as bein a police officer? Try deploying to afghanistan for a yr away from ur family and friends then talk about tough.
Posted by douglas87 on September 10, 2010 at 5:24 AM · Report this
dirac 50
48 - I bet "liberal seattle assholes" know about all that dirty hippy shit: like run-on sentences and punctuation.
Posted by dirac on September 10, 2010 at 7:05 AM · Report this
51
No one is winning this. The cop was a scared kid, with only two years experience. I think the SPD force is nervous after the recent cop killings.

Police are trained to shoot in groupings - 3 or 4 shots quickly triggered - then to evaluate. If the officer was jumpy and scared, he would have instinctively used the procedure he was trained to apply. And no one ever shoots to wound - its too easy to miss. Police are trained to aim for the center of mass - the chest.

I don't think Mr William needed to be shot - I think the cop was too nervous and scared to think straight. I wonder how much time do new cops spend riding with a senior officer before going out solo? Perhaps new cops need more time under supervision, so that they can approach incidences like this one with more poise, calm, and professionalism.
Posted by MtnFreak on September 10, 2010 at 8:51 AM · Report this
52
Did this cop not carry a baton? Taser? Pepper spray? Any one of these can easily disarm a man with a small knife. Any cop that cant disarm a 50 yr old man with a 3 inch blade without killing him isn't fit to be a cop. Different story, will be the same outcome. Cop will get a slap on the wrist, probably move to a different state & gun someone else down a few years down the road.

Incidents like this make me want to get my concealed weapons permit so I can defend myself against the strong arm of the law
Posted by dougfresh on September 10, 2010 at 9:31 AM · Report this
53
With all the other equipment they have: tasers, pepper spray, etc., they should be able to apply a lesser level of incapacitation to nonthreatening people like Mr. Williams. It seems like police training is to kill anyone who doesn't obey orders, no matter what the reason or situation. I agree, the cop is a murderer and should be kicked off the force.
Posted by Samehere on September 10, 2010 at 10:28 AM · Report this
MC Meat! 54
@Ken Mehlman:
I don't care if you came out, your still a total fucking douche, & a traitor!
Posted by MC Meat! on September 10, 2010 at 10:57 AM · Report this
55
"Ten feet away. A legal blade. A block of wood. A frail man."

Don't forget failing to follow the order to drop said blade. Regardless of if it was of legal length, he was told to drop it repeatedly. Many people have said this is an "illegal" command, does that mean then that if you are told to exit your vehicle when pulled over you can say no?
Posted by Philcore on September 10, 2010 at 11:10 AM · Report this
56
@#37 - I will not try to justify the killing of this man. However, I too, have met Mr. Williams on many occasions, and he was anything but gentle and sweet. Not very long ago, he actually punched my shoulder and repeatedly called me "faggot" when I told him I didn't have any money.

I know from firsthand experience that he was very capable of making threats of violence toward others.

That doesn't excuse the cop's actions. (I don't believe that most cops should even be allowed to carry firearms.) It's just dishonest for all of Seattle to be pretending as if this guy were some sort of gentle man completely incapable of appearing to be a threat.
Posted by distorted on September 10, 2010 at 12:07 PM · Report this
57

I see people with knives in Seattle all the time. They are feet away from thousands of tourists. They sell fruit at Pike Place. Odds are they make minimum wage--unless they are the owner... They could be homeless, too. Are they at risk with SPD? Are the tourists in danger at the market from poor produce vendors sampling peaches? The native carver killed by SPD was a danger to his tourist client base? More so than intoxicated Seahawks or Mariners or Sounders fans after the stadium let's out?
Posted by oldgrowth on September 10, 2010 at 12:35 PM · Report this
58
@52 and everyone else who thinks this is an assassination: Go read Graham v. Conner and Tennessee v. Garner. This is case law the cops get trained on in academies. The US Supreme Court has said that the police do not need to exhaust or use lesser options (batons, Tasers, or spray). And just because something is legal to possess doesn't mean its not a weapon. A baseball bat is legal, but it can smash in someone's head in single blow. It is awful that someone died here, mistakes were made, but I want to live in a society where someone walking down the street with a weapon in his hand is stopped and talked to by the police. i want a civil society.
Posted by DK on September 10, 2010 at 1:31 PM · Report this
59
58 - so your idea of a "Civil Society" is one where a man can be deprived of his LIFE, with ZERO due process, for simply not hearing a command?
My disdain for you and your kind of (non)thinkers knows no bounds. I hope you don't have the gall to call yourself an American.
Posted by Life-Liberty on September 10, 2010 at 2:00 PM · Report this
60
@DK 58 - to what lengths are you willing to go to guarantee your "civil society"? What rights and protections are you willing to give up?

By your definition, all of us should be terrified of Little Leaguers (they do carry bats, you realize), and we should all expect to be accosted by the police when carrying anything that might possibly be construed as a weapon. Get a damn grip and stop letting fear rule your life.
Posted by Common sense isn't on September 10, 2010 at 2:02 PM · Report this
61
"Get a damn grip and stop letting fear rule your life."

This statement applies to pretty much everyone on this thread.
Posted by Philcore on September 10, 2010 at 2:40 PM · Report this
62
"Many people have said this is an "illegal" command, does that mean then that if you are told to exit your vehicle when pulled over you can say no?"

Yes, actually, you can. And there are certain circumstances, particularly if you're a young woman being stopped in an isolated area by a single officer, where you should, at least until a second officer arrives. There's such a thing as a 'blue light bandit', a person who impersonates a police officer to put themselves in a position of power over their victims, and there's several cases of *actual* police officers taking advantage of traffic stops to assault, rape, and murder women. If you don't feel safe, you stay in the car and you tell them exactly why. If the person stopping you is properly trained, and not a power-tripping asshole, they'll follow procedure and call in backup.
Posted by Avi on September 10, 2010 at 5:41 PM · Report this
63
@47: Nazi? Do you understand the theory of evolution and natural selection? This is not a statement of preference on my part. Natural selection simply states that the slow, weak, stupid, and inept will succumb to the fast, strong, cunning, and capable.

Clearly this individual did not have the wherewithal to understand his situation (stupid), and did not act accordingly (inept). What exactly is so naziesque about this observation? I'm simply pointing out that it's ridiculous to get up in arms when an individual that belongs to a minority gets fucked up by the cops without asking whether or not they could have handled themselves a little more sensibly while dealing with well armed individuals in a dangerous line of work that in some cases may even be suffering from PTSD or may simply be an asshole with a small dick. Where was all the outrage when the cops killed that drunk white guy in his car in a parking lot when all the witnesses said the officers weren't in danger? Fucking nowhere, and that guy had a much stronger case for police brutality.

And as for the legal blade, go to your kitchen and grab a paring knife and stab yourself, then come back and tell me if you wouldn't be a little wary of a drunk guy that won't put the fucking knife down.
Posted by nutxaq on September 10, 2010 at 10:54 PM · Report this
tabathalphabet 64
What happened was a total tragedy, as both an actuality and a symbol for the deeper problems it represents. I saw John around pretty regularly - he never seemed capable of any harm, or at least no more than any other random person I pass on my walks. People running their mouths off about "crazy" homeless people acting "irresponsibly" or "brandishing knives" or whatever... please, don't talk about a situation you clearly don't know anything about. None of that information is true, so please don't get your views and hopes set on it. (As if me asking you is actually going to do anything anyway, who am I kidding?)

It's also a tragedy, in some way, for the individual cop involved and what he represents in the situation. I don't know anything about the guy, whether he's an anger management case who turned to policing to get out his rage, or whether he's just a nervous rookie who made the wrong decision in a snap second in light of the many recent cop killings. Either way - he clearly hadn't been through enough training to handle himself in this situation. Who he is (nervous vs anger mgmt, etc) and why he pulled the trigger (two things I don't know) could be the indicators of what sort of training he's lacking. Is it sensitivity training? Is it more hands-on "real life" scenario training? Is it more effective training for alternative conflict resolutions? There should have been a test before he was handed a gun that showed that he could keep his cool and handle most situations relatively well, that he was sensitive, and that he indeed was ready for the solo car. Ultimately, he killed someone. He is responsible. But the blame can't stop there, and we can't accept the answer that he was simply a lone agent acting against protocol. That answer is too easy, and it defers too much of the blame.

I hope that the citizens of Seattle (and the press - please, Stranger!) keep the city and SPD accountable for this. We can't forget it happened, like we've forgotten so much they've sworn to investigate about their internal disfunction. We need to check up on them, we need to push them and remind them we care about honesty and reparations, we need to keep publishing articles in the months to come if they do not provide us with a game plan for better operations and then put them into real motion. It was a tragedy, but maybe it can be a launching pad for action, and that John's untimely death can ignite some reform in the SPD.
More...
Posted by tabathalphabet on September 10, 2010 at 11:45 PM · Report this
65
This is part of the reason that made me, a native of Seattle, leave 15 years ago (and I am not talking about the cops). Back then, every person in town was trying to out-grunge each other. Now everybody is trying to out-hiptard each other. "I knew Johnny, man." "Oh yeah, well I shared a bottle of MD 20/20 with Johnny in an alley off Pike." I have tried to defend Seattle to my freinds from other parts, but the fact is we annoy the rest of the country.
Don't get me wrong, I agree with the person who said that the cop could have used a taser, pepper spray, etc. Let's reflect a little though: if you walk down the street with a chunk of wood and a knife, you're going to attract the attention of the police. Think the police are a bunch of trigger-happy thugs? Carve your wood somewhere better.
Posted by Kurt Copain on September 11, 2010 at 12:58 AM · Report this
66
The shooting of John Williams was a senseless tragedy that should never have happened. However it sheds a light on a much bigger problem. The outcry for poor John Williams after he was shot is touching.

However, were were all of you when he was so drunk and out of it that he would stand and point at a bird, a person, or the sidewalk and yell and swear at it? Where were you when he was walking around in clothes with feces running down the back of his legs? Where were you when he was walking the streets of Capitol Hill with no shoes or socks, unwashed? Where were you when he was dressed in a skirt going commando and flashing everyone? Where was your concern for Mr. WIlliams then?

I dealt with John Williams on a daily basis, sometimes hourly. I was yelled at, sweared at, and physically threatened. I never was introduced to the sweet gentle soul that I keep hearing about. Mr. Williams was a man who needed help from the community. He was not making it on his own.

His murder should be a catalyst for change on how the homeless and mentally unstable men and women are treated. Society needs to step up and fill the gaps that the government and city are unable or unwilling to fill. Your concern for one murdered homeless man is impressive but don't sit in your comfy homes writing hate aimed at the SPD. Get involved and help those who are in need or keep your comments to yourself.
Posted by junebug90 on September 11, 2010 at 1:13 AM · Report this
67
There have been a lot of abuses lately, and I'd venture to say that SPD culture is out of control. We need to fire them all and hire officers who are not ogres.
Posted by Jose Alvarez on September 11, 2010 at 1:03 PM · Report this
68
let's start a beting pool now.

1. odds that the officer will keep his job.

2. odds that in theinevitable lawsuit, the plaintiff (heir of the decedent) will lose and the officer will win.

3. odds that the judge will throw it out -- did you know the law says an officer can violate the fourth amendment, yet still not be liable for that violation, if he or she reasonably acted unreasonably? In other words officers get a pass on many illegal uses of force.

4. odds that the city will litigate this for more than four years.

5. odds that in the end this person's life will be valued at a settlement of less than $300,000. You see, since he didn't have much in the way or earnings, the law says his life is worth less....assuming a jury finds the officer liable.

6. odds that the officer will be 100
% indemnified by the city -- virtually certain. We certainly don't want officers who violate rights and are found liable to actually have to suffer consequences, now do we?
Posted by odds maker on September 11, 2010 at 7:01 PM · Report this
69
The carver was simply incapable of harming anyone and always carried his carving knife. It just makes me very sad.
Posted by Jacob Lyu on September 11, 2010 at 8:14 PM · Report this
70
James Bible doesn't know jack about the inquest process. A jury of your fellow citizens determines what happened and if families "aren't represented" it is only because they did not send a lawyer to the inquest court. Lots of social justice minded lawyers out there if someone doesn't have the money. Ball in their court.
Posted by Scat on September 11, 2010 at 10:23 PM · Report this
71
Is anybody else going to open carry at the demonstration?
Posted by garthm on September 11, 2010 at 11:49 PM · Report this
72
Stories like these seem to be cropping up more rapidly all over the country. The insane culture we've allowed to take hold of our police and our armed forces is the same culture that turns frat parties into gang rapes and a few racists into lynch mobs. These people are trained to believe that everyone but them is more than likely guilty of something and should be treated as a sub-human threat, which means using violence and domination at every opportunity. Where I live, the heads of the police force of ours and the two closest counties have all been indicted or accused of corruption, excessive force, cover-ups, etc. and innocent people have been killed here too. More and more I question why we have the police in society in the first place; historically, they only came to prominence after slavery ended and labor organization began - the wealthy elite bullied their towns and states to finance armed gangs to beat their employees into submission in the name of 'private property' and the priorities of 'local and business leaders.' Further, the courts have made clear that not only will the police be totally unaccountable for their actions, they are not even obligated to protect you from a crime, and cannot be held liable for refusing to protect or assist citizens. The real threat of crime (as in violent+property crime) is minuscule compared to the size of police forces most of our cities host today. And we know from the Kansas City studies that patrolling police have NO impact on rates of crime. How can someone believe they're in an honorable profession when half their job is locking up harmless drug users, and the rest of their time is divided between issuing petty citations and disrupting legal assemblies (aka traffic and noise complaints)? Police seem to pointlessly ruin lives and cause suffering much more often than they actually help. All this would not be so bad if we had ever, EVER heard any sort of remorse, shame, or moral indignation from the rest of the police community. So-called "good cops" should be furious and loud about the horrors their co-workers are committing, and doing something to save the reputation of their 'profession.' Also, we have to confront the fact that judges and prosecutors have been swept up into the police culture and no longer see their obligation to the citizenry. Instead, they advance their careers at the expense of vulnerable people who virtually always either enjoy the wrong drug or made a desperate mistake; in either instance jail time, the justice system's seemingly only tool, will only exacerbate the problem. We need to break this collusion between police and the justice system. But, since that's wildly improbable, I think it's fair to say that we're past the point of reforming the police as an organization. We need a national dialogue about why we have the police, what purpose they actually serve, what danger they pose to democracy, and how we can protect ourselves in the most efficient, just, and safe way possible. Someone brilliant once said "the best deterrent of crime is not the severity of punishment but rather the certainty of it." We need to accept that some things are unenforceable in a free society - drug laws, decency/transiency laws, legal obstacles to free assembly, etc. - and for everything else, an effective investigative force. Personally, I think we could get by beautifully with merely a Detective Corps, staffed only with highly-educated professionals well versed in law, investigation, etc. with plenty of tactical/intelligence training. We certainly need something better than a fleet of high school graduates with weaponized utility belts, mustaches, aviator glasses and terrible attitudes. Keeping these jerks in power is gradually saying goodbye to your rights to assemble, disagree, travel freely, and resist injustice from any 'legitimate' source. The cost of their continued existence will be more innocent lives.
More...
Posted by 056113 on September 12, 2010 at 4:55 AM · Report this
73
Stories like these seem to be cropping up more rapidly all over the country. The insane culture we've allowed to take hold of our police and our armed forces is the same culture that turns frat parties into gang rapes and a few racists into lynch mobs. These people are trained to believe that everyone but them is more than likely guilty of something and should be treated as a sub-human threat, which means using violence and domination at every opportunity. Where I live, the heads of the police force of ours and the two closest counties have all been indicted or accused of corruption, excessive force, cover-ups, etc. and innocent people have been killed here too. More and more I question why we have the police in society in the first place; historically, they only came to prominence after slavery ended and labor organization began - the wealthy elite bullied their towns and states to finance armed gangs to beat their employees into submission in the name of 'private property' and the priorities of 'local and business leaders.' Further, the courts have made clear that not only will the police be totally unaccountable for their actions, they are not even obligated to protect you from a crime, and cannot be held liable for refusing to protect or assist citizens. The real threat of crime (as in violent+property crime) is minuscule compared to the size of police forces most of our cities host today. And we know from the Kansas City studies that patrolling police have NO impact on rates of crime. How can someone believe they're in an honorable profession when half their job is locking up harmless drug users, and the rest of their time is divided between issuing petty citations and disrupting legal assemblies (aka traffic and noise complaints)? Police seem to pointlessly ruin lives and cause suffering much more often than they actually help. All this would not be so bad if we had ever, EVER heard any sort of remorse, shame, or moral indignation from the rest of the police community. So-called "good cops" should be furious and loud about the horrors their co-workers are committing, and doing something to save the reputation of their 'profession.' Also, we have to confront the fact that judges and prosecutors have been swept up into the police culture and no longer see their obligation to the citizenry. Instead, they advance their careers at the expense of vulnerable people who virtually always either enjoy the wrong drug or made a desperate mistake; in either instance jail time, the justice system's seemingly only tool, will only exacerbate the problem. We need to break this collusion between police and the justice system. But, since that's wildly improbable, I think it's fair to say that we're past the point of reforming the police as an organization. We need a national dialogue about why we have the police, what purpose they actually serve, what danger they pose to democracy, and how we can protect ourselves in the most efficient, just, and safe way possible. Someone brilliant once said "the best deterrent of crime is not the severity of punishment but rather the certainty of it." We need to accept that some things are unenforceable in a free society - drug laws, decency/transiency laws, legal obstacles to free assembly, etc. - and for everything else, an effective investigative force. Personally, I think we could get by beautifully with merely a Detective Corps, staffed only with highly-educated professionals well versed in law, investigation, etc. with plenty of tactical/intelligence training. We certainly need something better than a fleet of high school graduates with weaponized utility belts, mustaches, aviator glasses and terrible attitudes. Keeping these jerks in power is gradually saying goodbye to your rights to assemble, disagree, travel freely, and resist injustice from any 'legitimate' source. The cost of their continued existence will be more innocent lives.
More...
Posted by 056113 on September 12, 2010 at 4:57 AM · Report this
74 Comment Pulled (Threatening) Comment Policy
75
056113 very well said !
I highly recommend people to listen to “This American Life” that was broadcast on NPR this past Friday. There was a 40 minute segement about a NY city cop that recorded what his superiors were telling they were supposed to be doing on the street – They are nothing more than a gang of thugs. After listening to this program you will realize our civil rights are only at the pleasure of the police.

I find it baffling when Seattle officials talk about getting more police – for what????? We need less police. They DO NOT prevent crimes. They might show up after a crime has been committed and write a few things down – then leave. With that – why do they need guns? They don’t. This is my suggestion – Any cop cruising the streets cannot have a gun, but back at the precinct sitting by a phone are some cops with guns, and if they get a 911 call that requires guns, they then go to the specific address. When done they are return to their pen. (I would consider that all cops on duty have to simply stay in their pen until a 911 call) Maybe there can be a few small stations scattered through the city to improve proximity but other wise this can be implemented tomorrow. John T Williams would be alive today if this was how police operated.

I work on Lake City way for the past 20 years, and on 125th going down towards Lake City the cops did about 3 – 4 speed traps a year. Now they do about 3-4 a month to generate more revenue (on orders from the previous mayor) Why do they need guns? As city Officials look for more money to hire more cops – again the question is why? Are we overrun with crime? If yes, then why are we committing so much man power to speed traps instead of fighting this supposed crime?
Posted by franks on September 12, 2010 at 11:18 AM · Report this
76
i think this issue is pretty simple. everyone who has ever been helped by a seattle cop, please raise your hand. everyone who has ever been singled out, harassed, ignored, or worse, raise your hand. try this simple experiment in a group sometime. here's an idea: the next time some gunhappy fucknut on the "force" murders a harmless citizen, FIRE THE ENTIRE FORCE. scorched earth. that's what i want. and it's what's becoming more increasingly appropriate...
spd: making the LAPD look like ganhdi since WTO!
Posted by Adrian Ryan on September 12, 2010 at 2:12 PM · Report this
77
Yeah, the cops here suck

BUT

at least now arts and crafts can have the 'vibe of danger' around them.
Posted by SleepingWithNannyState on September 12, 2010 at 2:47 PM · Report this
78
I’ve read the comments; I’ve written something out in response @1. I’m calm now and can type rationally.
I knew John a long time and under a different name; always wandering Broadway where I worked. I was able to talk to him for a while when he wasn’t fucked up half the time, decent human sober, crappy person when drunk. I even offered to buy a carved staff from him but that fell through when the wood was sold; a loss all around.
I’ve also been harassed by him as well and he’s been put in his place. Desite his screw-ups I was impressed with his answer on not returning home: ‘When I sober up I will return home.’ John didn’t want to embarrass his family anymore than he had but loved them dearly and always will.
I’m here because I believe that many in SPD are getting out of hand with their actions; and, unfortunately, I believe it will get worse before it becomes better. My personal experiences with the police have been mixed. Some have been very helpful to my situations; others have been ludicrous.
I can only hope that the citizens of Seattle can come up with a solution to this mess. Notice I’m saying citizen. The current government, if it listens to its constituents, will stand behind its citizens and demand that the police be completely overhauled.
Posted by white queen B on September 12, 2010 at 4:15 PM · Report this
79
I've confirmed at least a dozen or so individuals (friends of mine) will OPEN CARRY at the demonstration at the intersection of Boren Avenue and Howell Street. The event begins at 2:00pm on September 16th. OPEN CARRY with us if you possess a concealed weapons permit and a gun. If you want the police to think twice before assaulting citizens, OPEN CARRY.
Posted by garthm on September 12, 2010 at 7:29 PM · Report this
80
Anyone who spends time downtown and had the misfortune to run into John when he was cranked can see how this happened. The whole situation was just an accident waiting to happen. I'd like to know where the tribe and all the do gooders were then?

I've seen John lurch across traffic ignoring buses bearing down on him, missing being a traffic fatality by inches. The guy was deeply ill, often oblivious to his surroundings and needed help. He's also the last person I'd trust with a knife given his behavior. Unfortunately now he won't get the help that he desperately needed. RIP.
Posted by kanush on September 12, 2010 at 7:29 PM · Report this
81
I, along with a dozen or so friends of mine, will OPEN CARRY at the rally on September 16 at 2:00 p.m., at the intersection of Boren Avenue and Howell Street. Join us if you're registered gun owner with a concealed weapons permit. This will be a peaceful demonstration, and we are not interested in rallying with anyone who's interested in causing trouble. Folks, the time is now to OPEN CARRY.
Posted by garthm on September 12, 2010 at 8:04 PM · Report this
82
Oops. did not mean to repost- thought the comment was deleted for some reason.
Posted by garthm on September 12, 2010 at 8:05 PM · Report this
83
"HORN" is an abbreviation of "dehorn," an SPD equivalent for "wino." I don't know the origin. It was in common use in 1965.
Posted by billwald on September 12, 2010 at 8:40 PM · Report this
84
@ 13 Ditidaht is Nuu-chal-nuth. Ditidaht is part of the "Aht tribes" on Vancouver Island Nu. Just like the Cowichan tribe is Salish. In fact the tribal name was changed by the tribe fro Nitaknaht.
Posted by pussnboots on September 13, 2010 at 9:37 AM · Report this
85
"With great power comes great responsibility." Marvel Comics had that much right.

How do you respond to the abuse of power and the neglect of responsibility? More importantly, how do you maintain accountability?

If an average Joe shoots someone, he's committed a horrible crime and should be punished.

When a uniform shoots someone, it's a horrible crime AND it degrades the entire justice system AND it polarizes communities AND it reinforces a violent power dynamic.

How do you hold someone accountable when they're holding the gun?
Posted by chiropractic marketing ideas http://www.chirohosting.com on September 13, 2010 at 12:55 PM · Report this
86
My well balanced comment (I sincerely hope?):

First, years back, having one one police officer per auto was supposed to be a very temporary solution to budget difficulties, it was never claimed to be permanent.

With only one police person in a situation -- and no secondary police -- the stress levels are exceedingly higher (just ask any experienced member of the three-man combat team, after he's lost the other two and continues on!).

There should be two per car -- always.

Next, while I don't mean to slight all police, some are truly outstanding, the quality of many over the past decade is equivalent to those out-of-town retardates, wearing those yellow and blue jackets, continuously almost running over pedestrians as they ride in a most uncoordinated fashion on their bikes on the sidewalks (isn't that illegal??), who work for the Godforsaken Downtown Seattle Association.***

Now, some of those really low-quality types move up the management line, and end up becoming those complete douchebag police management types who send letters to the Seattle Weekly extolling the virtues of the WTO ("I love the WTO...it is a great organiztion..." and other such nauseating ChickenPuke!).

These police management types are complete morons. For a brief time, between that pedophile Fitzsimons that Rice hired, and that latest idiot, Girlykowski, Seattle had a competent police chief (at least it appeared that way to me) in Chief Stamper.

Certainly, a little quality would go a long way in the Seattle police management.

To any sane person, this killing was clearly unnecessary and morally repugnant.

And in light of an off-duty police incident not that long ago, when an off-duty policeman from West Seattle patrol, who routinely went up and down First Avenue on his extremely-noisy motorcycle, was riding it through Post Alley late at night (believe it was a Friday night, and a very stupid time to be riding it through Post Alley in the Pike Place Market area), there were immediately five plus police vehicles at the scene, immediately after the shooting.

This police-involved shooting could have at least awaited backup.

***(The reason the Godforsaken Downtown Seattle Association brought in these out-of-town retardates was due to the drop in tax revenue when the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, together with the Trade Alliance [Rainier Tower, 25th floor, downtown Seattle], ran those seminars for local companies in offshoring all their jobs. After all those offshored jobs with resultant layoffs and tax receipts going downhill, the DSA and the Port of Seattle went into overdrive to bring in more ship stopovers to bring in more temporary revenues in the downtown area. Aside from all those stooopid amphibious ducks and their idiotically loud occupants, I doubt that tax revenues have risen much given all the problems with the Seattle city budgets.]
More...
Posted by sgt_doom on September 13, 2010 at 2:21 PM · Report this
87
@#66... Finally, the voice of reason! The fact that someone died at the hands of another is a serious tragedy. I wasn't there to see the events unfold, so I won't second guess the actions Police took that led to Mr. Williams’s death from my nice safe comfortable armchair. I continue to be amazed at how so many of you quickly wrap yourselves up in and recite passages from the US Constitution. Good for you! Finally a use for all those dollars wasted on a higher education. I'd really like to know how many of you actually fought for or risked your lives to defend that document that is supposed to protect the rule of law. The fact is, there are a lot more "bad" people out there then there are "bad" Cops. Don't be so quick to judge the whole force because a mistake is made by an individual. Right or wrong, they will close ranks to protect each other because so many of you are out there just waiting for someone to fuck up so you can second guess their actions. These officers have one of the most difficult jobs out there, period! Are there failures in the system? Absolutely. Is there a lack of sensitivity on their part? Sadly, yes, at times there is. But how many of you can keep a positive cheery attitude when 90% of the people you deal with on a day to day basis, hate you or want to see you dead? And now a bunch of you want to go out there and PROVOKE them by "exercising your constitutional right" to carry a weapon. You get what you deserve. Be right, but don't be an asshole and be DEAD right! Contrary to popular belief, when the investigation is concluded, the other officers in the department will shun Officer Birk if he acted with any malice or intentionally disregarded proper procedure in dealing with Mr. Williams. They will eventually police themselves and correct the pervasive poor attitude that runs in the undercurrents of every police department. Yes, sadly there are still some “bad” cops out there. But I am thankful that there are more “good” ones out there every day protecting us from ourselves, even if they occasionally do violate one of our constitutional rights.

Flame ON!
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Posted by Sea Chris on September 13, 2010 at 4:59 PM · Report this
88
And... Just before too many people state the obvious again... When someone (anyone) is pointing a gun at you telling you to stop, YOU STOP! Mr Williams may have been deaf in one ear but he wasn't blind!
Posted by Sea Chris on September 13, 2010 at 5:04 PM · Report this
89
#1 (Seattle Sheep Fucker) Per your own advice, how about you scrawl a swastika on your forehead just incase we all can't tell what a fucking bigot you are just by looking at you- but I'm absolutely sure you look just like a fucking idiot.
Posted by Panda_Fist_30 on September 13, 2010 at 9:02 PM · Report this
90
@Cienna Madrid, thank you for this EXCELLENT article, if there were a competition between the articles following this horrendous killing, I think this one would win.

To all of the people out there who are still unconvinced that this was a murder, John Williams was deaf (there's no such thing as being deaf in one ear and still having perfect hearing) and HE HAD HIS BACK TURNED. Wake up people, Christ, you can't even smell injustice when it grinds its smelly boot in your face.

If anyone wants to read about the comments and questions that were directed at police at the Native American Advisory Council meeting on September 8, please visit http://ajob4chaim.blogspot.com/2010/09/j…

Thanks!
Posted by piedradelocura on September 13, 2010 at 10:34 PM · Report this
fuzzy68 91
just ANOTHER example of whitey beating down indians. this whole world is built on blood and bullshit. i'm bummed that i have to work my slave job on thursday.
Posted by fuzzy68 on September 14, 2010 at 8:00 AM · Report this
92
Stupid-ass, trigger-happy, rook cop who should've known better. John was a fixture in that neighborhood. So much for community-fucking-policing.

His TO and command should bear some consequences, but he's gotta be permanently relieved of duty with a dishonorable discharge whether criminal charges are filed or not. There are some people who just shouldn't be cops. Makes me sad.

But the girl who got punched, that was the appropriate level of force. Even she (along with the Urban League) admitted as much. Lumping that incident in with John's shooting or the Westlake beating is just stupid, and dilutes how terribly unjust those breaches of the public trust really were. There's plenty of actual problems without wasting time on bullshit.
Posted by Screw Logging In on September 14, 2010 at 9:24 PM · Report this
93
Damn...@66 and @78 are some powerful shit. I appreciate your posts -- they made me think. Thank you, junebug90 and white queen B.
Posted by Screw Logging In on September 14, 2010 at 9:32 PM · Report this
94
This angers and saddens me deeply. I just heard about this, and it sickens me. I first met John years ago while working on Broadway when 3 homeless junkies were beating him up and trying to rob him. He had his knife then too, and never fought back. Just tried to get away. After chasing them off, and setting him right, I talked with him a bit. He had a beautiful nearly-finished totem carving under his arm which I commented on and he offered to sell to me when it was done the next day.

I didn't actually expect that he would show up, but he did. Before I bought it from him, with a smile on his face he went from top to bottom and told me the meaning and story behind every carved aspect. He said he was happy to be selling it to someone who would listen. There were tears in his eyes as he explained that there are not many left of his nation that know the old stories, and maintain the old arts such as woodcarving like he did.

I always bought one of his carvings whenever we'd see each other, and he had one ready.

He always had a smile ready when he met you. He was always kind and polite. He was a good man, who's only apparent wish was to maintain what dignity was left to him and his people by plying an ancient trade that was all he knew. John was someone to be protected, not protected against.

How DARE the Brown Shirts....Oops...I mean the Boys In Blue, do this? AGAIN?

And then they wonder why they are hated by all...Amazing.
Posted by Asmodeus2012 on September 16, 2010 at 8:48 AM · Report this
95
#66 Well said. It goes both ways. SPD and our local homeless community both needs some changes. We need to rise up to taking care of our community and protecting them from mistreatment by people acting 'above the law'.
Posted by TonyB on September 16, 2010 at 12:48 PM · Report this
96
#66 Well said. It goes both ways. SPD and our local homeless community both needs some changes. We need to rise up to taking care of our community and protecting them from mistreatment by people acting 'above the law'.
Posted by TonyB on September 16, 2010 at 12:50 PM · Report this
97
@#31 (detersbb):

You are right on my friend. I was active duty for 7+ years and I agree 100% I'm sick of defending my position against this police state, yet support of the military.
Posted by concernedcit on November 2, 2010 at 1:05 AM · Report this
98
If you are wearing a government uniform, you can get away with murder.

The 'Just Us' system at work.
Posted by JT_Lancer on December 19, 2010 at 4:35 PM · Report this
99
I know this is a bit old, but I just found this story on YouTube. What a tragedy.

After seeing the video, it's my strong opinion that this "cop" shouldn't just be punished, but killed. Possibly even tortured first, beaten, whatever... so long as before he dies he TRULY regrets what he did.

The man "should have put his knife down"? Please. Putting aside all the minute details - such as the woodcarver being deaf, etc. - the cop SHOULD HAVE NEVER LEFT HIS VEHICLE.

What prompted the cop to get out? Was the man behaving strangely? Was he jaywalking? Was he yelling or saying profound things? NO. The man didn't do a damn thing except WALK ACROSS THE STREET during HIS TURN where HE SHOULD BE WALKING, like anyone else would have. Nothing wrong with that. So what he was carrying a knife, he was flashing it or holding it like he was ready to stab someone. I bet you 2 out of 5 random men his age probably carry a pocket knife. And guess what? IT'S LEGAL.

This started off as pure harassment. The cop got out with the mere intention of harassing a citizen and it soon escalated. Again, this is a tragedy.
Posted by Horrible, Completely Horrible. on December 19, 2010 at 8:36 PM · Report this
100
"Lawful command" What are you talking about! It was not a lawful command. There is nothing illegal walking around with a 3" knife in a non-threatening mannor. This is simply cold blooded murder. The Murderer needs to go to jail for a long time
Posted by plunger on December 29, 2010 at 8:30 AM · Report this
101
This is asinine. How can anyone even begin to argue in favor of that hot head cop, who practically shit his pants with joy as he jumped out of the car to fuck with the innocent man walking across the street with his head down? This cop made himself jumpy and nervous on purpose. He needs to lay off the steroids.
Posted by Get real on January 14, 2012 at 10:59 PM · Report this

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