At noon today, a crowd of roughly 60 Native American drummers and protesters circled the King County Courthouse downtown, waving signs that read, John Williams was Murdered, Try Birk for Murder, Another Stolen Life—Stop Police Brutality, and perhaps most succinctly, Murder is Murder, to draw attention to the week-long inquest hearing commencing in the courthouse (more on that here). Meanwhile, inside, King County District Court Judge Arthur Chapman warned the six selected jurors not to seek out or be swayed by opinions presented outside his courtroom—including media reports or sign-wielding protesters. "You'll be presented with all the facts you need to make a determination," said Judge Chapman.
- Local artist Miss Pearl: From drawing devil horns to leading prayers, "we all have a job to do here."
The group of protesters, led by the John T. Williams Organizing Committee, is hosting another drum circle and rally today at 4:00 p.m. in the park adjacent to the courthouse. "We're here to support John—our friend, uncle, and neighbor," said Pat John, a First Nations man from Port Angeles who led the group in song. "We're here to draw attention to the injustice done to him."
More photos after the jump.
- First Nations tribal member Pat John leading protesters in prayer.
- Overflow room where a fluctuating crowd of roughly 50 people gathered to watch the proceedings happening one floor below.