Man Shot By SPD Officer—After Allegedly Ignoring Officer's Orders—Was Partially Deaf

Comments

1
Whoa, shit... This is starting to reek of excessive force. Four rounds were fired, right? Hmm..
2
Fucking fucking fucking tragedy.... god damn...

The 27 year old officer involved needs to resign his badge immediately and do some serious soul-searching. Obviously the position of Law Enforcement Officer is not the right line of work for him to be in - and I say this as a person who has lately been supportive of the police with most of their controversial issues (jaywalking punch, etc).

This is just a fucking tragedy.
3
God- as a person with a profound hearing loss I can honestly say this type of thing is a big fear of mine. Not hearing someone (or hearing them but not knowing they're talking to you) and getting hurt because of it.

Fuck.
4
It's not like he could look at the uniformed police officer getting out of a marked police car and figure out that the guy was a cop or anything. It's certainly no reason to put away your knife or anything crazy like that.

Plus, I believe police are always supposed to shoot to kill, so the number of bullets is irrelevant--he was going to keep firing until the target was dead.
5
Wasn't the original story that he "stood up and made advances toward the officer?" No mention of that now?
6
Let me see, it's ok to shoot or kick without mercy anyone who is:

a. Driving while Black
b. Walking while Hispanic
c. Whittling while Native
d. Carrying a Green Pepper or Cabbages
e. Looking at you with stink eye.

Is that the case, SPD? Cause it sure seems like it ...
7
@5 because an eye witness disagreed with that. She gave a different account when she saw it.
8
Police union to the rescue!

Can I become a cop, kill my enemies and get the union to say it was all an accident? I mean it looks like the worst case I would lose my job, but not my pension.
9
jesus christers....this story just gets worse and worse. :(
10
@3

I've got complete hearing loss in my right ear, and it's a fear for me as well. Not necessarily not hearing them, but not knowing it's directed at you. It's hard to tell which direction sounds are coming from with only one working ear.
11
@4 Well, since the knife he was carrying was completely legal, the murdered man had little reason to think that it was the cause of the killer's fear. He might not have understood what precisely the cop wanted him to do. He might have advanced on him to hear him better.

Of course, that's just a guess by looking at the facts and not jumping to scurrilous conclusions in an attempt to denigrate the murdered man or defend the killer.

12
#1.

Actually it's starting to reek of of excessive Political Correctness...he's disabled, a Native American, a craftsman...what else, did he sponsor a play about women quilters and get abused by the Sisters of Saint Mary and Joseph?

I mean, come on, the guy came at a cop with a knife.

On the flip side of PC, I had to laugh at this review of "the expendables by a Yahoo user"

Seriously after seeing this movie if you don't wanna eat a bowl of raw steak, while lifting weights.. inside of a hooters, inside of a strip club and then want to go blow stuff up. Then you might as well go see Eat Pray Love because you might not be a man.

http://movies.yahoo.com/mvc/dfrv?mid=180…

13
@12, seriously, did you look at that drivel you wrote there and think to yourself, "yes, this is what I want to say", and then click Post Comment? Really? How old are you? Ask your doctor about dementia.
14
I wonder if SPD spokesperson Renee Witt will acknowledge the deceased's hearing impairment when making followup press statements.
15
I used to give John soup every day at the cafe I worked at. He was a nice, troubled guy who was too drunk to know what was going on most of the time. These sad Native street dudes are the legacy of the destruction of their communities by predatory economic and religious opportunists. I doubt that he even realized that he was holding the knife when he saw the officer yelling at him. I fail to see how someone who is usually too inebriated stand up could be a threat to a highly trained police officer.
16
@12, Do you know what it's like to be beaten by priests every time you speak the language of your parents and grandparents? How about getting sexually abused by those same priests? Do you think that terrible pain just might lead you into the life a chronic inebriate? Here is a letter of apology to John's tribe from the Canadian government. http://www.turtleisland.org/news/apology… You need to think a little bit before you say really stupid things about people who have died.
17
When people say that the police are nothing but a state-sponsored gang of violent thugs, I tend to think that's a little hyperbolic. However, the SPD has shown itself to be far too prone to being violent, racist, and completely willing to abuse their power. In conversations with local police officers, they are always full of ridiculous justifications for harassing and verbally abusing homeless community members, of seeing nothing wrong with the police escalating violence in response to trivial offenses.

The department of professional accountability needs to get their shit together and hold the SPD's feet to the fire. We residents of Seattle need to get our shit together and demand that the SPD no longer abuse, mistreat, and murder the most vulnerable people (or anyone, for that matter). What happened to John is not an isolated incident, and if shit doesn't change dramatically we'll likely end up seeing more counter-violence against police by vitriolic angry people.

Also, much love to you folk who acknowledge and recognize the long history of state violence against indigenous communities, and for seeing this as a depressing continuation of that legacy.
18
@12 Don't get too bothered by all the haters! We welcome idiots here, just look at how functionally comprehensive Will in Seattle has become.
19
OK, I'm sympathetic, especially with you guys working so hard to drum up sympathy. (he's a half deaf native american with a love tatoo. He's an 8th generation whittler and loves his mommy and was carrying a puppy to the vet etc etc etc) But if a cop is pointing a gun at you PUT DOWN THE FUCKING KNIFE AND STOP WALKING TOWARDS HIM!!!! How hard is that? DON'T DO ANYTHING THREATENING TO A COP, or arguably anybody, AIMING A GUN AT YOU.

Sorry about the random caps but stupidity gets me frustrated.

Look, I'm really sorry that some nice guy just got shot. That really sucks, it does, I feel sorry for him and his family and friends but you can't hold the cop responsible for shooting a guy who was coming at him with a knife.

@10, that's a very legitimate point. Chances are that you'd hear a cop yelling "Put down the knife" even if only in one ear. If I were in that situation? If I heard a cop yell "Put down the knife" and I didn't know who he was talking to but I was holding a knife I'd put the fucking knife down.
20
#4 - Police are "supposed to shoot to kill"? Can anyone verify or substantiate this? That doesn't sound quite right to me. Keep shooting until they're dead? ..Really?

#12 - How does anything here "reek of political correctness"? Are you suggesting that a person's hearing impairment isn't relevant to talk about when that person was just shot dead for having "refused to follow police orders"? Or that the reason someone was carrying a knife may have had something to do with his being an 8th-generation craftsman? Of course the cop couldn't have known that he was a craftsman or partially deaf, but it's certainly worth talking about here. Sheesh.
21
#13, #19

Here's the thing -- day in and day out SLOG and the regular commentors unleash a barrage of ageist rantings about "bums", "pedos" and "yukky" people around Seattle.

I'm surprised that Whittlin' Man isn't in some SLOG post from 2009 from Paul Constant, talking about those "Crazy Men" who live on Capital Hill, and then we'd hear the usual Seinfeld/Friends-esque squeamish rants from the SLOGgers.

Face facts, the maximum concern you all would have shown for this guy, minus 2 days ago would be a maximum of zero, and an average of "Disgusted, In An Unconcerned Way".

The thing is, I do travel around a lot of this city, and I actually communicate with some of these people (not by choice, they seem to latch on to me as some sort of understanding ear).

The shame is not that this guy was shot -- but that he was allowed to be alone, there, in the city, left like a child.

September 01, 2010.

The SLOGpocracy continues!
22
@3 Are you a homeless, chronic alcoholic with a decades long police record? If not, you should be fine.
23
@21 so you're OK with more taxes to help the helpless, then?
24
@19 This 'nice guy', 'whittler' is well known among Native American artists and though he had seen better days, he has carved totems all up and down the Pacific Coast.

If anything is being manufactured here it is sympathy for the cop.

25
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe, are you John Bailo?
26
@21 to paraphrase "i'm not racist, i have lots of black friends"
27
@20- A gun is lethal force. If you're using it, you're using it with intent to kill. If you're "shooting to wound" you're probably either gonna miss or kill, the chance of actually wounding someone on purpose (for your average cop, soldier, etc..) is close to zero.
28
@25 Nice.
29
Thanks to PRS-1 for dropping the knowledge bomb on the Slog's asshole contingent.
30
I wonder how this meshes with ADA requirements ...
31
Seriously, though, I think it is.
32
@26 -- to paraphase, you first have to have a phrase.

Do you ?
34
John B?
35
To all of you people that jump to the conclusion that the victim ‘came at the officer with a knife’. I will tell you that you are sadly mistaken. The victim was a fixture in my neighborhood and it took him about 5 minutes just to cross a street. I knew who he was and he was absolutely harmless.This could have been completely avoided and if this is how the cops are trained to react to these kind of situations then we are all in serious danger. The officer is a coward and a moron and should be fired immediately. For once I hope Diaz does something significant about this incident and demonstrates to the citizens of Seattle that he is on our side. This is not acceptable!
36
This breaks my fucking heart. When I worked in Pioneer Square I used to see Williams a lot, either on the waterfront or in the Market. I took some pictures of him and his carvings once, and he could not have been a kinder soul.

SPD, what the hell?
37
@19:
If the guy actually threatened the cop with knife, you'd have a point. But according to witnesses, the guy just stood there, unable to hear or comprehend what the cop was saying.

No cop worth a shit would kill a man under these circumstances.

The cop should be fired, and if a video surfaces corroborating witness accounts, he should stand trial for murder 1.
38
Is there yet another facet of this whole terrible incident that could possibly make it even more fucked up and sad?
39
Here's the thing -- day in and day out SLOG and the regular commentors unleash a barrage of ageist rantings about "bums", "pedos" and "yukky" people around Seattle.

I'm surprised that Whittlin' Man isn't in some SLOG post from 2009 from Paul Constant, talking about those "Crazy Men" who live on Capital Hill, and then we'd hear the usual Seinfeld/Friends-esque squeamish rants from the SLOGgers.

In spite of the fact that Supreme Ruler said this, it is in fact true to some degree. There's a surprising amount of denigration of street people, bus riders, etc. from Stranger staff and some Sloggers. It wouldn't be a bad thing if this were addressed.
40
Was he blind? And who the fuck cares if he was a 50 th generation carver, he's been arrested downtown over 30 times. He knew the fucking drill, drop the knife and put your hands up.
41
Well, on the plus side, at least this week the bums and hobos will stop being assholes and will behave themselves downtown.
42
The "reality" thing of this is horrible.
For Slog though-No Soup For You!
43
@32, you really are honest-to-god stupid, aren't you?
44
I've forwarded my concern about his being deaf being a factor in the outcome to the Seattle Commission for People with Disablities.
Regarding the victim's appearance, I do recall a video of a female reporter, in Seattle in the 1990's, suddenly being approached by a man brandishing a knife. I'm uncertain if that was KING 5 or another Seattle station. But I would be interested in whether he was the man in that video.
45
John T. Williams was my friend. He was a sweet man with a gentle soul. Yes, he was often intoxicated beyond reality--but he always maintained honor and respect while dealing with his lot in life.

No one has mentioned the fact that John's right hand had 'locked' in a grip from holding a carving knife for so many years. His hand had been this way for a long time. I'm sure the ME has seen this as have countless other Social Service personnel who have dealt with John T over the years.

He had to force the knife into his hand to work, and had to pry it out to remove it.

there was no 'dropping' the knife.

He shuffled slowly like an old man and carved.

I can just see him smiling benevolently, blinking his eyes, trying to show the officer he meant no harm when he was murdered. He probably had his headphones on, too.

Any reasonable person and any reasonable law enforcement officer should have been able to quickly assess that this small, shuffling man would not require such a level of force to subdue.

I realize police forces in our area have had a lot to deal with these last months, but this action by a single member of SPD brings serious dishonor on their whole organization.
46
WJM, thank you for your post. Regarding Mr Williams' hand 'locking' into a grip -- you're absolutely right, I've seen no mention of this rather important detail in any of the stories I've read.

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I am deeply sorry for your loss, and for the pain that this incident is causing to Mr Williams' family.

It's so easy for too many of us to look at the circumstances of his life as they were, and to pass judgement on him in absentia. Unfortunately, in this case, the person that we as a society had entrusted with this power ultimately abused it, and murdered him in cold blood. I pray that justice will be done, that the truth will come out and be undeniable to no one, and that John can rest in peace.
47
'he always maintained honor and respect while dealing with his lot in life. '

Really? Honor? Respect?  30 arrests, most for lewd conduct and harassment? Or is waving your junk at tourists at Pike Place a new native greeting?
48
I wonder if the SPD will be shooting PAX attendees next who are too absorbed in playing games to hear the cops, while their earbuds are ensconced in their ears ...
49
@ 19---Lets just say you are an artist and you paint all day everyday..you love painting...and the paintbrush is like second nature in your hand...AND you love drinking..so much that you can't really function at times....And you can't hear out of one ear...so you are painting one afternoon...and an officer comes up and says something to you...maybe he is asking "did you see a little girl that is missing?" maybe he is asking "are you ok?" but you can't hear him so you try to get closer so you can hear him better or perhaps read his lips to see what exactly he is saying...and he sees the paintbrush in your hand that you don't even realize you have in your hand because it's second nature to you..and the officer says drop the paintbrush" and maybe you hear..."op ain ush" or in John's case "op ife" (remember you may have had some drinks too so it's not just about hearing it with one ear) so even if you thought he said drop the paintbrush (knife) you would look at it and wonder why as this is an artists tool..not a weapon...and maybe you approach a little more to see if that is really what he said then POP POP POP POP.....too late....you're dead....
50
At least the Mayor is finally weighing in, as we can see from Friday's post around 4 pm.
51
This is to the comment root sent out ! U peace of shit do u have any one in your family deaf and or partilly deaf they still have the hardest time understanding certin shit said I can yell while signing to my sister and she still has a hard time hearing me ! So why the fuck are u so heart less and so dumb ! He didn't think he was doing any thing wrong obviously ! If u hav never know or been related to any one with this impairment then why make ur fucked up comment asshole ! Keep them to ur self heartless fuckin people these days fuc what if it was one of ur own ! Think about that asshole