Photographs from the John T. Williams Inquest Hearing

Comments

1
I'm sure her hero Chris Montford agrees!
2
Not so beloved that any if these folks took him in and cared for him while he was alive.
3
The people of Seattle say guilty? Thanks but no thanks.

Do these people know they are responsible for the politically motivated murder if the cops last year with their hateful rhetoric?
4
@2. We all did...funding the housing on Eastlake where he lived, dumbass. Also, how is "not taking care of someone" make it alright to murder him? I'm not taking care of your mother, but I probably won't murder her.
5
We all did.........nice cop out.
6
um. Can we atleast agree that the whole "White Devil" thing is kinda racist and probably not appropriate?
7
evil sees no color.
8
Don't any of these protesters have real jobs to go to in the middle of the afternoon on a Monday?
9
If there's anything guaranteed to erode public sentiment for trying Birk for murder, it's drum circles.
10
Was anyone handing out blankets? It is awfully cold out.
11
When will Seattle's loony left have a cause célèbre without a rap sheet as long as your arm who has cost tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars in court and social services costs?
12
@11 If we were freely allowing cops to execute those deemed worthless to society, I'd happily volunteer you for next in line.
13
I hate to say it, but I half-agree with the troll. Half of the protesters and commenters on this blog seem thrilled Williams is dead, if only so they can have a platform for their anti-cop rhetoric.

I'm sorry if that seems cynical, but I can't explain to myself why so many people are upset he's dead when almost no one cared when he was homeless and miserable.

I am also fairly positive none of these protesters or commenters will change their opinions / statements when the inquest finds Williams wasn't shot in the side or that his knife might have been open when he turned toward Birk.

Like the sign says: they've already judged Birk guilty regardless of what comes to light in the inquest.
14
@12 so I guess you can't find anyone who isn't a bum with a long rap sheet. Thanks for trying though.
15
Public housing didn't seem to keep a drunken shit bag like Williams off the street. Why wasn't he in jail?
16
@15 -- It's not illegal to be a drunken shitbag. Thank goodness.
17
@16 in public it's illegal. You know one of Williams favorite hobbies was waving his junk at Asian tourists at the market? At least six arrests for that one. Must have done wonders for cross cultural learning. I wonder how many Japanesr went home thinking it was a First Bations greeting?
18
What a bunch a racist assholes so many of you are. May you get what you so richly deserve.
19
Your ignorance and white supremacy are astonishing. The only one talking about white devils is you! Got conscience motherfuckers? & yes our drum circles actually have a spiritual meaning and are rhythmic, you wouldn't know anything about that would you you? You live in such ethereal perfection, untouched by substance abuse or any emotional issues.
Why not just demonstrate your enlightenment and shut the fuck up.
20
@19
Maybe John Williams didn't deserve to be shot. Maybe. This filthy drunk Indian you've made into a martyr liked to expose himself to people at the market. That alone should have put him him behind bars as a sex offender. Also, you need to find something more constructive that these corny drum circles.
21
Also, sorry for the extra "him" and fuck your "white devil" Indian racism because "white devils" have given you a pretty good standard of living in this country.
22
" our drum circles actually have a spiritual meaning"

You know most Sloggers are rabid atheists so think these bizarre religious events are laughable? Or do they make an exmeotiom for Native superstitions?
23
Poor you times two.
24
@23 -- Did you know John before he died?
25
Thank you SLOG for covering this. #21 Is a fucking racist. Look at the comment that he made, proclaiming his supremacy to John. John Williams was not a fucking "filthy drunk indian". He was a human being. When you say, the "white devils" gave him a good standard of living, does that include the fact that this country's wealth was founded on the genocide of native americans and through slavery? And the people out there protesting did so out of a genuine concern for humanity. What a horrible agenda! Not wanting to live in a society where people innocent people are gunned down by the police.olor And for people on here who do have a sense of humanity and are sickened by the way, these comments should give us even more resolve to DEMAND JUSTICE FOR JOHN WILLIAMS! Jail Killer Cops. Prosecute Ian Birk for Murder!
26
@25 --

I don't want to live in a society where innocent people are gunned down by the police.

I also don't want to live in a society where innocent people are presumed guilty before they've been convicted in a trial according to the standards of law.

How can you assume Ian Birk murdered John? How do you point a finger at a man and call him a murderer before you know the facts? Can you do this just because John Williams wasn't white? Can you do this just because Ian Birk is a police officer?

If he is found guilty in a trial, I will join you in calling for the most punishment available for him. Until then, I believe he is entitled to the presumtion of innocence.
27
fuck you Thank You Susanswerphone
28
I am sad but not shocked to see the ignorant statements made by people who know nothing of historical truth regarding this country and its indigenous peoples and know nothing of our cultures and our ways. I feel sad that they have been robbed of a proper education that would have taught them the truth about our past and our current situations on and off our reservations. This country was founded on a Native Holocaust. Tribes were forced away from the lands they knew and moved to new lands where they couldn't hunt, fish or grow food for themselves. Our elders were murdered so we lost our knowledge and our parents were forced into boarding schools where they were abused, raped and forbidden to speak their language. They did everything they could to "beat" the native out of us, including forced sterilization of our women so they could not reproduce. Through all that and more, native people have endured. We fight every day for our rights to eat our traditional foods, to fight the diseases of alcoholism, diabetes and cancer that we were plagued with by our oppressors. We are doing everything we can to provide a sustainable future for our children and this planet. Just to put it in perspective, even the wealthiest "casino tribe" experiences poverty that most of you could not even imagine. The money the federal government supplies native people is barely enough to sustain us and actually does more harm than good, meanwhile they relentlessly break treaties and find ways to take native land and resources, much of which they have already destroyed with nuclear waste and deforestation, etc. I am sad that my children will have to grow up and face this ignorance. However, our Native communities must stay strong and continue to support each other and teach our children our stories and traditional values of honoring all people. We must fight this ignorance and racism with wisdom, strength and hopeful, open hearts.
29
@28 --

I know nothing about the natives of this region and their history. Every time I think I know something, I meet another native and learn I know nothing.

For example, I didn't know the invaders gave your ancestors cancer and diabetes. This is news to me.

Are you suggesting Ian Birk killed Williams because he was a native? Do you believe Birk performed his job with instructions to find and kill any Natives he could?

I knew Williams. I never feared for my life when I interacted with him. Then again, I never saw him walking with a knife in his hand. Many times Williams threatened me. Many times he acted irrationally (in the eyes of a white man). Many times he appeared to live in a reality where I presented a danger to him.

I believe this killing is a tragedy. I don't know Ian Birk, but I do not believe he set about on his day that day to kill or hurt a Native.
30
I lived around John Williams and his brothers and sisters in the late 1980's. When they got drunk, they all became loud and annoying. That is the way their parents taught them. But John did not deserve to die. Also, he was an amazing totem pole carver. If you have not seen any of his work, try to find some somewhere, maybe in one of the tourist shops at the Piers. I lost touch with the family 20 years ago, and am looking to try to find any of John's brothers or sisters. I know his brother Rick is still around. I saw him sitting at the inquest on the news clip today. If anyone knows how to contact Rick or any of his brothers or sisters, please let me know. I need to talk about John. from Di in Vancouver Canada
31
For once, please stop using the word "racist" when you don't fucking know how to use it...and quick to use it when anyone says white _____.

It's interesting that people are so ignorant to condemn something like "drum circles" as corny, silly, stupid. Projecting much? Just because you don't know anything about these practices and have never participated does not deprive them of their meaning. I mean, that's the supposed American way: respect for people's freedoms, right? (/rhetorical, for the very slow)

Petty, stupid, and childish.
32
#26. People are out protesting because of the facts. There is all kinds of evidence that Birk is guilty of murder. (1)Witnesses that have testified have said that Williams was not approaching Birk at the time he was killed and that his back was turned at the time of his death.All witnesses have contradicted Birk's story that Williams lunged at him with a knife (2) In an interview with Real Change, family members of John reported that John was partly deaf in his left ear and suffered from arthritis in his knee. (3) An autopsy report showed that Williams was shot in the side, making it impossible for him to have been lunging at Birk at the time he was killed. (4) In the video released, Birk shot him 4 times in 4 seconds, not enough time for a response to commands even if Williams heard him. (5) The video also shows BIRK approaching Williams across the street, if he was threatned, he would not have approached him. But instead would have backed away and called for back-up. (6) A preliminary investigation by the Seattle police department ALREADY FOUND the shooting to be unjustified.

Furthermore, the results of this inquest WILL NOT determine whether or not he is guilty. Even if the jury DOES find the shooting unjustified, the King County Prosecuter Dan Sutherland will make the final decision. This is the same prosecutor who let of two cops for stomping on the head of a Seattle latino man and yelling at him, " I am going to beat the fucking mexican piss of you, you feel me homey." Video of it can be shown on youtube. This prosecutor said he could find no evidence of a hate crime. If people rely on this system for justice, all they will find is that might=right. And that is why people are protesting. Please know your shit before you start dogging on other people who are acting on what they know.
33
six shooter,

to help clarify for you...

forcing native people to relocate from their traditional lands where they hunted and harvested their traditional foods (which kept them healthy) AND forbidding them to grow their traditional foods and restricting their hunting and fishing gave us no choice but to accept the government rations that were made available, mainly flour and lard (in the old days) and packaged carbohydrate meals, fake cheese and powdered milk when I was growing up and still today. The Guilla River people in Arizona had their river blocked upstream from their Rez and that agricultural tribe started starving until the government gave them rations and now 99% of them have diabetes. All happened in just a few decades. (it's the same reasoning for why poor people, and usually minorities, have high diabetes rates). Same idea behind cancer. We have/had traditional plants and foods that naturally prevent cancers (just like many other world cultures who have super low cancer rates) but we weren't allowed them and the government would even go so far as to wipe out all the resources.
I'm not saying anything about what Birk's intentions were when he set out that day. I do believe that if a cleanly dressed white man had walked across the street with a tiny knife and a board that the most Birk would've done is pulled over and ask where he was headed or what he was up to. So I do beleive that, whether a person is aware of it or not, they tend to participate in racial profiling whether they "mean to" or not. What the video shows is that Birk stopped his car and ran after John T. while shouting at him 3 times in a row to drop the knife before immediately firing rounds at him, not enough time for ANYone to have reacted. John T. wasn't out to attack Birk or anyone else. He was simply walking down the street when the officer ran after him and shot him. All Birk had to do was yell from his car, call for back up, keep a "safe" distance, anything other than run towards him and murder him. There is no justification for his actions. It is so clear what happened and if ANYone in this city wants to feel safe they better pay close attention to this case and demand justice and accountability.
34
@1totemwoman. " There is no justification for this action. It is so clear what happened and if ANYone in this city wants to feel safe they better pay close attention to this case and demand justice and accountability."

You are right on!