Candlelight Vigil Commemorates Life of John T. Williams

Comments

1
I very much appreciate the fact that McGinn and Holmes showed up for this. But, damn. SPD, you are in the midst of a real annus horribilis. You scare me with your tactics, SPD, and make me ashamed of your actions. Fucking pull it together.

RIP John T. Williams. So sorry for those that knew and loved you.
2
I think I've decided to skip my annual Christmas shopping trips(s) to Seattle and stay in Bellevue. It would not be fun to be looking over my shoulder the whole time wondering if I'll be shot dead for Jaywalking or targeted because I have a non-Caucasian friend with me.
3
Four shots was a bit much. This guy was just stone drunk. He was out of his mind drunk all the time. Can't imagine the threat posed by a short wobbly Indian with a pocket knife.

My favorite line from the post:"To see a Native with a piece of wood and a knife and not put that together—that’s culturally ignorant"

uh, right.

4
How come no one's talking about Ian Birk? What's his background? Is he squeaky clean? Is he a war vet? College educated? Wife beater? I find it hard to believe that his actions are those of a sane and well-balanced human being.
5
I was John's nurse. We had a beautiful friendship/relationship where he would hold my hand gently in both of his hands and smile broadly... we would look deeply into each others eyes to the soul and kindly regard each other. He was very well liked by all who cared for him. He was a beautiful man, a rich man who deeply touched so many people. Maybe this is his legacy, his gift to give to us all... He has profoundly touched the hearts minds and souls of many. Losing him has made me physically ill. I will NEVER forget this treasure of a man. He was so beautiful..
6
Native american or not, you are a public threat if you are walking about at rush hour in an area frequented by pedestrians carrying and playing with a knife. I suppose permitting a drunk Japanese man to walk about swinging a samurai sword is likewise a requirement of cultural sensitivity?
7
John Williams was my friend of over 25 years. Officer Birk, YOU MURDERED MY FRIEND!!!!

Quit your job and leave Seattle!!!!!
8
@6 Not enough of a threat to be murdered. Your analogy is a bad one.
9
"Four shots was a bit much. This guy was just stone drunk. He was out of his mind drunk all the time. Can't imagine the threat posed by a short wobbly Indian with a pocket knife. "

Yeah and its just 2 blocks away from a half-way house for drunks. It stands on the grounds of the old Rock Candy (RKCNDY) club. Residents are allowed to drink inside the place and as odd as that is, it does save the city several million a year from having to send ambulances about the place to pick up drunks passed out at bus stops. It also saves lives as the ambulances are free'd to save people who arnt passed out drunk at bus stops.

Its not surprising to see drunks in that area. The officer should have known this.
10
@9, any cop should have known that all right. (And maybe he did. The dad of one of my exes is a "bad cop turned good" who came from an alcoholic home and as a rookie found he took out his issues on the street drunks he ran across.)

Reporting indicates Williams did live in that building you describe (btw not a "halfway house" but a genuine home for the carefully screened, most publicly-expensive chronic inebriates), where staffers had recently welcomed him back after last year's felony conviction for exposing himself to a staffer.

Clearly a volatile fellow, and alcoholism being a progressive disease his mostly nonviolent past is no guarantee there wasn't something menacing in his encounter with the cop. But goddamn, no reason he had to die by human hands.
11
Here is a link to a letter from United Indians of All Tribes Foundation to Chief Diaz:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/daybrea…
12
This is such a trajedy.
Personally, I hold Christopher Monfort and Maurice Clemmons partially responsible.
13
@6 - you said "carrying and playing with a knife"

He was carrying a THREE INCH folding knife - which is perfectly legal in the city of Seattle. He was also holding a piece of wood he was carving at the same time. If an officer can't use deductive reasoning or is letting personal bias influence his decisions, he shouldn't be carrying a gun and he damn well shouldn't be a cop. Clearly this is not a realistic expectation of the SPD, tragically.
14
Kinaidos you ignorant slut.

This man was not only known as a wood carver, but anyone (you?) that would have seen him would have put it together that he was an artist working on woodwork. Why? Because i assume you arent retarded.

anyone that was familiar with downtown/capital hill fucking KNEW ABOUT THIS GUY. he came into my wifes business regularly to chat about native art, etc....yes a bit eccentrically street-y, but harmless, friendly, and totally cool.

yeah yeah yeah i know its really important to not be reflexively PC, and social sensitivity in the face of police doing their jobs is always irritating. I have police in my family. I understand.

But what we have here is an officer with ALMOST two years experience coming across a native american woodcarver and instead of properly assessing the situation and using some sort of restraint, shot the old, slow native american holding the perfectly legal 3 inch blade FIVE FUCKING TIMES. and he was hearing impaired! The police officer completely fucked up with absolutely no excuse. He killed someone. He didnt have to. Learn your fucking facts before posting such reflexively anti-PC-for-the-sake-of-being-anti-PC bullshit.
15
@14 Seriously. I almost always side with the cops and even I can see that this is a case of itchy trigger finger.
16
I know! I was all "you know what? I get it!" when dude punched the jaywalker.

THIS officer.........man, I dont know, I'm feeling pretty in shock so I dont want to say anything crazy, like i said I have police in my fam. Something major needs to happen to this bastard.
17
Basically, someone with authority (*cough* council during negotiations *cough*) needs to tell SPD to lay off the FPS games on xBox360 for a while.

Like ... forever.
18
It is a sad day, when your teenage son has to tell you; "Mom, the police are our enemies". That really really hurts. And it is so true. No person of color is safe in Seattle. Now, we have to look over our shoulders all the time and wonder if we will be next. Something, needs to be fixed here. When is all going to end? Do I have to tell my future grandchildren what it was like to live in today's society filled with hate, by people you should trust? That we were attacked just for being a person of color! It is a sad sad time.
19
How safe can any of us feel with this madman on the streets, armed with a pistol and wielding the authority of the law? He is a murderer, plain and simple, and he desperately needs the ministrations of penitentiary guards and inmates. And Seattle Police need to withdraw from whatever Nazi school they've been attending. They are way too much like Hitler's SS troops.
20
@Kinaidos. The real public threat is you in the gene pool.
21
right on Linda! shes a member of our community and she has everyright to be ther with us!
22
A Japanese man walking around Seattle with a huge samurai sword should maybe be tazed or rubber bulleted, or something, not MURDERED by being shot multiple times. Especially an elderly, possibly intoxicated Japanese man who is also holding, say, a nice big piece of raw tuna in the other hand and who regularly visits local shops and chats about sushi.
23
And wasn't he deaf in one ear as well? He may not have heard the officer.

The point is that I have heard nothing about the officer asking him why he was carrying a knife and maybe saying that he shouldn't walk around with it open. "Oh, okay, officer, I get that, thanks." End of discussion.

That the guy was not menacing the officer or any one else, couldn't the officer have stopped the guy, trained his gun on him and get back up if the officer was so worried?

Good luck, Chief Diaz.
24
The elders see it as it played out: Ian Birk murdered John Williams. Always always listen to your elders. They are right!
25
John's father carved on the streets of seattle 50 years ago. His work is in the Smithsonian.

John and his four brothers carved in the streets of seattle their whole lives. Two of them froze to death on the street.

This is a shameful day for Seattle and its sense of values.

26
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=14…
27
I did not know John. But I know his brother, who has carved Coastal designs into the legs of a powwow drum stand for us at our request. I wasn't at the scene and I don't know what happened, exactly. But from what we learn from the media (wherever they get their information from and how well they verify it is another question) John was holding a folded 3" knife that he was using for carving artwork and the police officer shot him 4-5 times from nine feet away.

We need a "BADGE OR NO BADGE" Initiative in this State, that legalizes deadly force in defending yourself against anyone -- ANYONE -- including police officers when they are outside of the scope of their duties. If you were not violating the law and a cop grabs you arm, you SHOULD be able to knock him on his ass. If a cop pulls a gun on you and you are not guilty of a crime, and if you have the skills you SHOULD be able to quick-draw and blow his head apart. And the courts SHOULD just say, "Well they were out of the scope of their duty OBVIOUS BAD COPS."

Fire and arrest the cop who did this, charge him with murder, send him to prison, and to the cop-ass-kissing Kirby Wilburs of this country give 'em a swift kick in the nuts and send them home crying.

IT IS UNFORTUNATE (depending on how you look at it) that there will be a new wave of police officer attacks like the ones happening in the Central District, down at Lakewood, and down in Oakland not too long ago. And it will be all because the public feels threatened and tired of being forced into positions of surrender without cause. One day you will hear groups of armed private citizens yelling at police officers, "Show me your hands! Get on the ground!" The tables will turn.
28
This is shocking. My father was a police officer in San Francisco for years. He always said that he was faced with moments where he could have used more force and he was always glad that he didn't. I know that police officers are faced with split second situations, but a drunk guy with a pocket knife? I used to see him in the market. Since when is a guy whose motor skills are so wildly impaired considered "dangerous?"

I am also starting to worry. Either this has to be a wake-up call for this Seattle or they face a serious and unfortunate future. After this, who knows? I am a good citizen. I haven't even had a speeding ticket in 24 years much less ever had a criminal conviction but this makes me feel like hey, maybe I'll be shot dead due to a misunderstanding because I'm Asian and I've been to happy hour and I"m trying to get my mobile phone from my purse or something.

I already feel so incredibly unsafe in Pioneer Square and Belltown that this just gives me one more excuse to avoid downtown Seattle.
29
Excessive force seems to be the SPD's m.o.

http://zverina.com/2010/0625.htm
http://zverina.com/2009/1103.htm
30
A key consideration is "proportionate response." Police defenders cite killings of several police officers in recent years, but the assailants are almost always using guns.
A small knife poses far less of a danger, and generally affords the encountering officer with many more options, such as retreating a distance, using alternative means such as a taser, or, last resort, shooting the suspect in the leg.
Multiple gunshots to the torso is not only a disproportion response in this instance--it is a cowardly act.
31
6 writes;

" Native American or not, you are a public threat if you are walking about at rush hour in an area frequented by pedestrians carrying and playing with a knife. I suppose permitting a drunk Japanese man to walk about swinging a samurai sword is likewise a requirement of cultural sensitivity?"

are people really this ignorant?

playing with a knife?

swinging samurai swords?

no limits on the spin in an effort to justify such negligence I see.. a real cop would have considered that an elderly man may not be hearing what he was saying and acted accordingly..

BTW, is it protocol for SPD to walk up behind a person carrying a knife and shoot them? why did John have to put his knife down in the first place? was he threatening someone?

why can't the SPD own up to their actions?

32
Hi,
My Name is Carly. I am John T Williams niece. I just want to say is John is a good guy. He won't even hjarm a fly. So why would he harm a human being for? He cared for anything and anyone. He took who ever under his wing. He was there when u need him, he was there. You need food or anything. He would find a away to get money.
I remember one day I was little. He asked everybody who wanted to go to the beach for the day. We all said yes. And I remember me and my siblings played in the ocean. John and his sibling sat on the beach carving. No body bugged them. They sat there and watched them carve and ask questions abount there work. When we ware ready to leave, the visitors asked if we ware coming back to carve. Uncle looked and said yes we r. See you tomorrow my friend.
Everybody he called friend, be came good friends.
Uncle John I will miss you dearly.
33
I hope this cop catches a bullet in the back. You POS pig.
34
It is tragic that things like this have to happen before people open their eyes to what is going on around them. It is not just the police, it is the government that is your enemy. The police are merely taking their queues from above. If you read sites like Lew Rockwell you or merely search the net you will discover that literally hundreds of such incidents are now occurring yearly, hundreds of more involve tasering of innocent individuals. The police are being trained as a para-military force and consequently have developed an authoritarian para-military mentality. Unless Americans wake up, get involved, and demand real change, real accountability (irrespective of Party), instead of security theater, this is only going to get worse. Does it really have to be your son, or daughter, or husband or mother who is killed or maimed before you will get involved?
35
Its obvious this psycho cop was looking to shoot that man. You could tell he couldn't wait to MURDER the innocent defenseless elderly deaf man with 5 SHOTS in the back like a coward. How pathetic. They really need to drug test this cop. These are not the actions of a normal human being. Most likely he was in a roid rage when the old man dared not listen to him!
36
the cop is wrong ! 5 shots come on .the cops know self defense. he should be brought to justice .! everyone should come together to make this right for j.t.w. rest in peace my friend!!!!!!!
37
I am originally from Seattle...started the cutlery store in PPMarket. I know Alex Jackson going back to 1978...another accomplished carver...who when I read the story...thought he was the one the murdering Birk shot...Jackson was a friend of Williams. I remember meeting Alex when I came back 9 years ago. Alex was BLIND complements of the Nazi Jack Boot Gestapo Thugs SPD who continually maced him...harrassed him and the list goes on not only for Jackson but all other Natives and First Nation Peoples.

John T. Williams was MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD! And when I hear of a cop getting "capped" I say...":one more for the John T. Williams''s and the Christopher Capp's and all the other Natives and First Nations men, women, and children who have been brutalized, beaten, raped, and murdered...and I smile.

Richard Boyden-NAM COMBAT VET...66-68
38
I am originally from Seattle...started the cutlery store in PPMarket. I know Alex Jackson going back to 1978...another accomplished carver...who when I read the story...thought he was the one the murdering Birk shot...Jackson was a friend of Williams. I remember meeting Alex when I came back 9 years ago. Alex was BLIND complements of the Nazi Jack Boot Gestapo Thugs SPD who continually maced him...harrassed him and the list goes on not only for Jackson but all other Natives and First Nation Peoples.

John T. Williams was MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD! And when I hear of a cop getting "capped" I say...":one more for the John T. Williams''s and the Christopher Capp's and all the other Natives and First Nations men, women, and children who have been brutalized, beaten, raped, and murdered...and I smile.

Richard Boyden-NAM COMBAT VET...66-68
39
that police officer should be in jail..it was murder he saw an oppertunity to kill a native man and did it lying to try to imply the native man was a threat..that was BS.. kARMA HAS IT'S WAY U MURDER U GO TO HELL