Day Two Wrap Up: Officer Ian Birk Testifies on Williams Shooting

Comments

1
"He didn't stand a chance."

No he didn't. And if SPD trains its officers to put people in a position where anything they do will be construed as a reason to kill them, then that is completely fucked up.
2
What, no giant illegal 12 inch knives?

Just legal knives that any Citizen is LEGALLY entitled to carry within city limits by LAW?

Old people walk funny sometimes. Sounds like the cop is ageist too. I remember one guy walking across the street in Fremont, started when the light turned green and only got about halfway across before it got red. He actually was going faster than when he was on the sidewalk, so I doubt he was dawdling.

But he might have been whittling - is that a crime?
3
Seriously, this guy's interpretation of the event sounds fishy to me. If he's telling it exactly how he saw it, he should no longer be a cop because he saw it all WRONG.

By his reasoning, if I had a limp, he would stop me with his gun already drawn. If I failed to understand him and looked at him funny, he would shoot me.
4
has anyone considered the alternative?

police officer lets a disheveled williams walking into a busy downtown area pass by with an open knife.

the canadian williams, with 30 priors and a history of abuse, bumps into a young passerby, launches into an attack rage, and stabs the victim.

now imagine them finding the dashboard video that he had been let go...
5
Stop editorializing, just report.
6
10 seconds is more than enough to comply with multiple requests to drop an object.

I am absolutely not going to claim that what happened that day was anything besides terrible, but people who think that Birk got out of his car planning on killing a homeless dude are as stupid as the people who think it's just another vagrant off the streets.

I really enjoy most of the Stranger's reporting on local news, but you guys really are incredibly myopic when it comes to a few hotbutton issues.
7
I live in this neighborhood, I walked Mr. Williams all the time. He was absolutely harmless. Never saw him appear even slightly threatening towards anyone. This whole situation just makes me sick.
8
So according to Supreme Ruler, we all have the potential to hurt someone therefore we should be shot because we might bump into someone and get into a fight. Police should not be murdering the citizens they are sworn to protect. This cop is a murderer straight up. He said that ten seconds is too long to respond to aggression? Then how can an elder respond correctly in the 4.6 seconds it took the cop to gun him down?
9
Ordinary, unarmed people regularly stood around Williams while he carved. Even sat right next to him. He was never violent, drunk or sober. Ian Birk knew this. We do not increase public safety when we encourage police officers to see danger where none exists. We do not increase police officer safety when we excuse and encourage irrational fears.
10
Why don't you give some credit to Officer Birk. Give him at least as much as you're extending to an utter piece of shit like Williams. Birk actually has some value in our society.
11
@4: Nice of you to point out his nationality. That makes all the difference - everyone knows that it's perfectly legal to shoot Canadians in the street.

Dick.
12
@10: Utter piece of shit? Look in the mirror, asshole.
13
Liar. Coached fucking liar. NO REASON for the initial stop- no criminal complaint made, no passersby fearful. Blade size- 3"- LEGAL in Seattle. Only dickhead steroidman amped up on sportstalk...or worse- with a grudge and a Glock. Go to the videotape.

The second one hasn't even been shown...Birk & another cop aiming Glocks at the still body of John T Williams on the ground. Then the tragicomic moment of 9-10 cops in a row, creeping up to his fully motionless body as if they've just discovered Osama Bin Laden himself on the sidewalk. Armed with nukes. yes they act that scared.

Birk reminds me of Richard Pryor- only much less funny. "Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin eyes?"
14
Let's also remember that Williams had recently been outside Dick's with his pants down and covered in his own waste. He also has a history of exposing himself to women. Hell of a martyr kids.
15

"I walked Mr. Williams all the time. He was absolutely harmless. Never saw him appear even slightly threatening towards anyone"

Really? His rap sheet includes assault and lewd conduct. Plus he threatened to kill cops at least one time before. 

Or do you think violent people are always violent with everyone they meet but when you see them, that must be how they always are? I have a dog who has similar problems with mirrors.

I'd rather have Officer Birk as my neighbor than John Williams.
16
Yo robot ghost , So , we are supposed to give a paranoid , irrational , ill trained gun ho cop credit. Give me a break. Yea Williams was piece of shit according to you , but for sure not a killer.
17
Officer Birk, the people of Seattle thank you for your service.
18
Due process, eh? lulz.
19

Yo Robot Ghost, give credit to a piece of shit paranoid, irrational, ill trained killer, you are out of your mind.
20
@6 doceb: where you getting 10 seconds from? According to testimony so far, 4.6 seconds elapse from the first order to the first shot. Listen to the audio. Twenty-three civilian witnesses and none of them thought Williams was a threat.

Contra your claim, I haven't seen anyone from The Stranger claim that "that Birk got out of his car planning on killing a homeless dude." That he clearly fucked up is pretty much beyond doubt.

Whether he fucked up enough to be convicted in a court of law is an open question. And given how hard it is to convict a cop, my guess is he'll lose his job and that's about it.
21
@20: good point, I should correct myself: 4.6 seconds is enough time to drop a knife if a cop asks you to.
22
Am I reading this right that police in this city are trained to shoot you for giving them an aggressive LOOK on the duration of SECONDS? Is that seriously what Birk is testifying that he was trained to do? So, if one of us is carrying a legal knife, and gives a cop a hard look for a duration of less than 1-2 seconds, they are trained to open up on us...? This HAS to be a joke.
23
Unless you happen to be very hard of hearing and are simply walking along, not doing anything wrong and not expecting to be challenged by a gun-happy cop.
24
The above was in reply to doceb's comment.
25
@14

Oh. Well. Since you put it like that. Clearly we should then summarily execute all drunks and homeless people. Right? I mean, hell, if these yukky, icky, dirty people can't make enough money to afford mental health care and proper hygiene then shoot them right in fucking face.
26
@14

Oh. Well. Since you put it like that. Clearly we should then summarily execute all drunks and homeless people. Right? I mean, hell, if these yukky, icky, dirty people can't make enough money to afford mental health care and proper hygiene then shoot them right in the fucking face.
27
A reasonable person _would_ expect to be challenged by a cop if they're walking around with an open knife in their hand downtown.

I'm trying to be somewhat reasonable here: all I've really posted in here is that the people demonizing Birk as an outright murderer are as silly as the people who think it's just one less vagrant on the streets, and people jump down my throat for it.
28
"very hard of hearing"

I'll bet $100 if Officer Burk had offered Williams a beer he would have 1. Heard him and 2. Cooperated. Maybe cops downtown should use beer to deal with the natives.
29
Man, police training is fucked up. McGinn needs to fix that quick!
30
Saw Birk sitting with his wife in the courtroom on TV. Somebody tell her she'd better file for divorce soon before he finds a reason to shoot her.
31
@21, Doceb wrote, "4.6 seconds is enough time to drop a knife if a cop asks you to."

This is slightly off topic, as Birk ordered Williams to drop the knife, but do you understand the difference between a request and a demand? If a cop asks you to do something, you have no obligation to comply. Usually, if they ask, it means they have no authority to demand. "Sir, I'm asking you to get out of the car."
32
@27 "A reasonable person _would_ expect to be challenged by a cop if they're walking around with an open knife in their hand downtown."

A person who is a well-known carver, who has made their living for decades carving in public, and who according to Birk's initial statement was in fact carving while he was walking?

Yeah, you're being somewhat more reasonable than the trolls, but you're still overlooking most of what we actually know about the incident.

Again, none of the civilian witnesses saw anything that prompted Williams being stopped much less shot. And the SPD officer who led the investigation, basically admitted that the department itself has no idea why Birk fired. His testimony was the weakest support of another officer that I have seen in over 20 years of watching SPD. That is extremely telling.
33
@31: Oops, wrong video. Here's the cop asking someone to get out of his car, then refusing to tell the man whether or not he's required to get out.
34
If Bruce Harrell's idea to put cameras on cops were in place we would know what happened because the truth would be on tape (or harddrive I suppose). We would not be wasting money on this bullshit because we would already know if the shooting was justified or not.
35
@34: Does Bruce Harrell's idea to put cameras on cops include any method of ensuring that cops don't simply turn off the cameras whenever they'd prefer not to have a record of what they're doing?
36
Birk is mapping police procedure over the events in a attempt to sanitize the situation. I'm sure police training is extensive, despite this incident/killing, but Birk's speed of action in the initial video belies, IMHO, the claims he is making here that he carefully evaluated the Williams body language, "1000 yard stare" (WTF?), intoxication, etc prior to the first shot. It's sanitized testimony trying to fit his actions into the box of police policy training.

And is bullshit. That said, it sounds as if the attorney for the Williams family is scoring some points. good on him for that.
37
@35 we could say make it a terminateable offense, but then Tim Burgess and Rich O'neill would go berserk all over the Seattle news media on how everyone hates cops and won't let them do their job.
38
@32: I absolutely have issues with the way this incident played out - what happened is absolutely terrible for everyone involved. What I find to be somewhat telling is that having any sort of measured approach to this issue (actually, any approach besides foaming at the mouth) makes everyone here assume I think the cop should get off with a slap on the wrist or no punishment at all - that is not really the case.

My thoughts:
I'm willing to make the distinction between what's extremely unfortunate and what's _necessarily_ criminal. I'm guessing that two things are true:
1. Williams had no intention of actually attacking Birk with a knife, despite what his posture and motions may or may not have been.
2. Birk absolutely believed that he was acting in self defense, with questionable justification.

Suffice to say, I'm very glad that there's an open inquest into this matter. There's a lot to be determined, and SPD statements and "internal investigations" are no more impartial than The Stranger is on this issue.

The big issue I have is that a large portion of the people reading this (apparently) won't be happy without a first-degree murder charge.
39
@35: Joe: Make what a terminable offense?

Seeeeit wrote, "If Bruce Harrell's idea to put cameras on cops were in place we would know what happened because the truth would be on tape (or harddrive I suppose). We would not be wasting money on this bullshit because we would already know if the shooting was justified or not." I responded, "Does Bruce Harrell's idea to put cameras on cops include any method of ensuring that cops don't simply turn off the cameras whenever they'd prefer not to have a record of what they're doing?"

I'm all for having police interaction with the public recorded. But I want all of it recorded, and for all of those recordings to be available. My concern is that we'll set up a system that protects police from false claims by the public, but not vice-versa. If the machines only run part of the time, or if officers are able to prevent the archiving of recordings, I think it's reasonable to assume that recordings of police misconduct will not be available.
40
@38: Okay, so maybe you should explain to people what first-degree murder means, and what we call the crime of drastically exaggerating the threat posed by someone you approach on the street, then using that threat as justification to very intentionally kill that person.

Also, if your two guesses are correct, then what is Birk Guilty of?
41
@38: "SPD statements and "internal investigations" are no more impartial than The Stranger is on this issue."

You think The Stranger is impartial? Go read the comments in the PI - Birk has almost no support among that conservative mob either.
42
Is carrying a (closed) 3'' pocket knife and walking funny enough justification for a police officer to draw his weapon before approaching a person to "talk"? If it is justified, should the police officer be so lacking in caution as to close to within ten feet of the person before deciding the person is a threat and killing them? Is that police proceedure?
43
@40:
First degree murder is premeditated. Unless you think you can convince 12 impartial people that he got up that morning planning on killing a homeless guy, that's not what you charge him with.

I purposefully left a lot of leeway when I said "questionable justification." If he had no justification at all, he'd be guilty of 2nd degree murder. If he was fully justified, he'd not be guilty of anything. If I had to guess, we're probably looking at something between those two; something like either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, if it goes to trial. That's pure conjecture, though, and the comments already posted here have more than enough of that for one day.

@38: And here we see why trials are determined by a jury of your peers and not online newspaper comments sections.
44
I meant make turning them off a firing offense, if I wasn't clear. That's how you prevent them turning it off. If they do that, and are caught with gaps, you fire them. Hell, pass a Seattle law that they're evidence, and if you fail to record -- tampering with evidence.
45
doceb @38 "Birk absolutely believed that he was acting in self defense, with questionable justification."

Actually I agree with you. I think that is exactly the case. And that is what scares the piss out of me. I think the guy had absolutely no business being a cop and that he completely overreacted to a run of the mill situation.

As far as prosecution goes. It is going to be very hard to prosecute Birk on all but the most trivial of charges. He is not subject to the same law as civilians. The most serious charges just don't apply to cops in performance of their duties.

This article provides a very good rundown of the difficulties of prosecuting Birk for anything truly serious:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/lo…

The money quote:

State law shields police officers from criminal prosecution when they claim they used deadly force in self-defense, unless it can be shown they acted with malice and a lack of good faith.

In essence, if a police officer believes he was justified in using deadly force, prosecutors must overcome a steep hurdle to obtain a conviction.

46
@45: I didn't know that the law went so far to shield officers. I find that to be troubling.
47
@43: Doceb, sorry, I didn't mean to suggest you don't know what first degree murder is. I meant that if you think, as you wrote @38, that "a large portion of the people reading this (apparently) won't be happy without a first-degree murder charge," then I suggest you remind them what first degree murder means. I don't get the impression that people think Birk got up in the morning with the intention of murdering Williams. My impression is that people think he took advantage of his position of authority and shot a Williams not because it was necessary for him to do so in order to defend himself from Williams, but because he's a powertripping, motherfucking, asshole who typically sees the public ask, "How high?" when he tells them to jump. That's what the video suggests, isn't it? I mean, really, if he thought Williams was so threatening, then why did he get so close to Williams in the first place?

I suspect people think he killed someone, and that him refraining from killing that person would have been extremely unlikely to result in a similar level of harm to anyone. When other people do that, we call it murder. I don't know what the name for it is when a cop does it. Given what we know -- and that's not the whole story -- it seems to me that he's guilty of murder of some sort. Which degree? I don't know. But it's not like his finger slipped onto the trigger or that he was aiming at a can nearby. It's pretty clear that he shot Williams intentionally.

Imagine the same situation, except that some hero got out of his car when he saw what appeared to be a street drunk tottering down the street with a 3" knife, approached the drunk, they both stopped, he told the drunk to drop the knife a few times over a period of 4.5 seconds, then shot him dead. Imagine that after the fact, hero guy says he felt threatened by tottering little knife toting drunk guy, so he killed the guy. Would we be tippy-toeing around whether it looked like murder or just manslaughter?

You wrote:
I'm willing to make the distinction between what's extremely unfortunate and what's _necessarily_ criminal. I'm guessing that two things are true:
1. Williams had no intention of actually attacking Birk with a knife, despite what his posture and motions may or may not have been.
2. Birk absolutely believed that he was acting in self defense, with questionable justification.


Then you clarified:
I purposefully left a lot of leeway when I said "questionable justification." If he had no justification at all, he'd be guilty of 2nd degree murder. If he was fully justified, he'd not be guilty of anything. If I had to guess, we're probably looking at something between those two; something like either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, if it goes to trial. That's pure conjecture, though, and the comments already posted here have more than enough of that for one day.


It seems you were describing what you think happened, suggesting a range of possibilities depending on to what degree Birk's self-defense was justified, but when you started to take a guess at which end of the range was more likely, you hinged your suspicion on whether the case will go to trial. The way I read it, you're mixing up what you think happened with what you think he's likely to be convicted of. Am I misunderstanding you?

Also, I'm curious what it would mean to be acting in self-defense but for the action to be unjustified. Is that pre-emptive-war-style "defense"?
48
@44: Joe: Okay, so then would the recorders run the entire time each officer is on duty? I saw presentations of a couple competing systems at a City Council meeting last year (one chest-mounted, the other over-the-ear, and one of them was Taser's). I'm almost positive that's where I heard someone ask about needing to turn off the recorders in the restroom. What about during private phone calls? Chatting with friends at lunch? Entering someone's home to take a report of auto theft? Unless we and the police union agree that officers have no expectation of privacy at any time while they're on duty (and maybe also that people give up much of their right to privacy any time a police officer is nearby), policies about when an officer's recorder must be running and when it will or may be disabled will need to be set with privacy in mind. It's hard for me to imagine them running at all times.

That said, my gut feeling is that it would be great to move to a system in which the creation of video and audio recordings which will be available to the public just goes with the wearing of a police uniform. As long as we're not jeopardizing an ongoing investigation, why shouldn't we be able to look in on what our police do while they're on duty for us?

"Good afternoon, sir. I'm officer ______. Our interaction may be monitored or recorded for quality control purposes."
49
I know that all I really did was watch the video, but I don't feel like his version of the events make that much sense. In that 10 second window there was probably a lot going on, maybe he slowed down time. It's not even a little clear from the video that there was any knife, and this whole, "he looked back and saw my clear hand signals" kind of thing sounds more like, he looked back, saw an officer, and decided to continue on his way. I don't know what kind of universe Birk lives in, but if I'm deaf, and see a police officer behind me, and I'm not doing anything wrong, I'm not going to assume he wants my attention. The planet earth doesn't revolve around whatever police officers want from us at any specific time, especially if they have special needs. I understand it's a horrible situation, but this is a good example of why we ask questions first and shoot later. He only looked so threatening because our society in the form of not hiring him for a job denied him shelter and the ability to get clean daily. I know it's not officer Birk's fault that our society shits all over poor people, but that's no excuse in my mind to do something wholly unprofessional. Maybe I should be out for blood, but all Birk really needs a new job. This one isn't working out for us, thanks for the service, and I hope he finds new employment so he doesn't end up shot by a cop who mistakes the out of work cop for a threat to our city.
50
@47: I'm being purposefully vague when I state what I think he's guilty of. It's because I don't find it entirely relevant, I guess, and it all hinges on something that none of us have actually seen - what happened off-camera. It's pure speculation and it doesn't add much to the conversation.

As for the unjustified self-defense thing, if it's unjustified then it's not self-defense, which is why I carefully worded it "Birk absolutely _believed_ that he was acting in self defense" - reality and belief don't necessarily align.
51
Whoops, when I say it's not "entirely relevant," I mean what _I think about_ what he's guilty of, not what he actually is guilty of - that's extremely relevant. Central, even.
52
As someone who often is mistaken for being in a bad mood or angry, I must say the "confrontational look" thing scares me. Some of us just have angry-looking faces! I swear I can't help it.
53
Somehow the SPD managed to subdue this guy with a weapon without killing him and without him killing anyone. Maybe they should be looking into their own playbook.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lorZp6a0v…

54
@48 Make the cameras so that they can be turned off, but also so that they automatically record everything the instant a cop's gun comes out of the holster. Somehow I don't see a cop pulling out his gun to take a piss.
55
@54: That's a good start, but we'd miss cases in which police misuse their authority with their boots, batons, and cattle prods.
56
@55 Fine. Anytime ANY weapon is deployed, the camera automatically runs. And remember- an officer isn't going to be booting someone unless another officer is there to help, and the suspect is already on the ground. The odds of more than one officer being involved without any of them having deployed a single weapon would be near impossible.
57
@36 said: "Birk is mapping police procedure over the events in a attempt to sanitize the situation."

Exactly so. But common sense shows his reactions to be unwarranted and extreme. He saw the man walking and killed him within seconds based on what he claims was an aggressive demeanor which included brandishing a knife.

I strongly doubt that Officer Birk is describing things accurately. He knows what's on video, and he knows what he can claim without being challenged. But even if he were describing what actually happened, he acted wrongly. He killed a man who was not a threat, and he will not accept responsibility. Birk needs to go, or he will kill others.
58
@4: Or consider this alternative: Birk spends more than 4 seconds trying to determine if this guy is a threat and, possibly with help of other officers, relives him of his knife and/or sends him on his way.
59
@57 You're forgetting about the woman who saw everything and ran up to Birk afterwards, screaming "Why did you do that??"

It will be interesting to see what her testimony is, and how badly it contradicts Birk's.
60
watchout5 @49: Just to set the record straight, "our society" did not "deny him shelter and the ability to get clean daily." According to the P-I:

Family said he lived at 1811 Eastlake, a building run by the Downtown Emergency Service Center that provides supportive housing for 75 formerly homeless men and women living with chronic alcohol addiction.


You can read more about 1811 Eastlake here. Some of us work pretty hard to secure social services for the needy, and it doesn't help to have folks like you complaining that we "shit all over poor people."
61
Anytime I've seen Mr. Williams he was WASTED. Staggering. Slurring. Wasted. There is no way that, exhibiting the drunken behavior Officer Birk claims to have witnessed, he would have had the mental capacity to understand and react to the demand to drop his knife in the 4.5 seconds before he was gunned down, especially considering the guy was almost DEAF. Also, if Birk felt so threatened by John Williams standing 10 feet away, and felt he needed to shoot an old, slow-moving drunk, could he not have done so in, oh I don't know, THE ARM???
I'm not saying that John Williams was a glowing citizen. He was annoying , lewd and smelled horrible. He was also a man with a serious addiction problem, possible wet brain, and not a lot of hope. He wasn't fun to have around, but he certainly did not deserve to be shot by an overreacting officer.
62
@4, @59: Another alternative: Birk steps backward, increasing the distance between himself and Williams to that at which a stumbling middle-aged drunk with a small knife is not a threat to a healthy young police officer with a gun.
63
@61: shooting someone in the arm with a firearm is still considered lethal force. If you do it on purpose, it means that you had reason to believe that the person posed less than a lethal threat.

Lethal force + less than lethal threat = fundamentally incorrect use of force. It's the same deal with firing warning shots.

No doubt people are going to jump all over me for stating facts that exist independently of this incident, so let me post this disclaimer: nothing I said above should be meant to insinuate one way or the other as to whether Birk's actions were justified.
64
@61, @63: I believe police are trained to use firearms only as lethal force (i.e., whenever they shoot, they shoot to kill, and if they don't want to kill, they don't shoot). "Hey, I only meant to shoot his arm," isn't likely to be an acceptable explanation for killing someone.
65
@61

I'm not defending Birk in any way... but what I understand of police training (or any combat training) is, aim for center mast. If you're going to shoot, you're shooting to kill. Shooting to injure or otherwise incapacitate is not what you're doing when you pull a gun.

I've shot a hand gun a couple times at at Wades in Bellevue. I'll tell you, doing so gives you a whole new perspective on movies. I'm sure there are people that can, but I had a hard enough time hitting center mast from 20 feet away let alone trying to get into something specific (and relatively small) like an arm or a leg.
66
@62: Exactly. That's the biggest question I have with the situation: on a stop that was initiated because there was a knife visible, why did Officer Birk approach to within 10 feet of Williams prior to (or while) asking him to drop the knife, if that's inside the range where you'd need to shoot first and ask questions later? Has any side of the investigation suggested that Williams at any point moved towards Officer Birk (not just stopped and turned around)? If so, I haven't heard about it.
67
@66 Unless he was shuffling at him backwards, there's no chance Williams was moving towards Birk. The bullet trajectories have confirmed that.
68
@4- Every time someone does something crazy, they'd just passed by someone who didn't realize they were about to do something crazy.

But of course, the vast majority of the time, they don't do anything crazy. So the cops running around shooting everyone who walks by their cameras is a pretty bad idea.
69
@61- Don't ever talk about "shooting someone in the arm." It's not fucking possible for ordinary people to hit a small, moving target with a handgun even at point blank range. Someone says this in every discussion of a police shooting, and I guess movies are to blame, but it's just not doable. There are a few people in the world who practice trick shooting who might be able to pull it off, but cops have other things to do besides shooting.

Also not doable:

Accurately firing two handguns at once, even in the same direction.
Accurately shooting while running, jumping, or sliding down banisters.
Hitting targets at long range with a handgun.
Using a minigun without a tripod.
Getting shot through the shoulder/leg/stomach then going on with your life like nothing happened.
Dodging a bullet that's already been fired.

70
Camera fans: What is to stop an officer "accidently" covering the camera or otherwise obscuring the footage?
In a related question, why didn't Birk drive around the corner and continue to observe Williams and assess the threat he posed from the safety of his cruiser (even for another ten seconds)? What was Williams doing that was SO urgently threatening that required he jump out and confront him immediately?
71
Take a moment and place yourself in the shoes of a Police Officer... Forget Birk and Williams....

Your a Police Officer during rush hour in an exremely busy and large city. Lots of pedestrian traffic. You see a man with a knife who "appears unstable" to some degree.

Will you contact that man or will you just let him be?

I am not a Police Officer and I don't agree alot with police findings but I do understand that Police Officers have a profoundly difficult job. They have to make "decisions" for other people on a daily basis. Our society is full of "weak" individuals who couldn't stomach what Ian is living thru right now, but that's the life he chose, it didn't choose him.

I live in Seattle, my commute consist of walking roughly two hundred blocks a day. Everyday I see idiots jump in the street and nearly get hit by motorist all because the sign change to walk. Our society doesn't even make their own decisions on crossing the street, the sign says walk so you walk without hesistation, never mind the 4 ton truck coming down the street. I have witnessed atleast six collisions involving pedestrians resulting from a pedestrian jumping in the street when the sign says so instead of using your brain and thinking and entering the street when it is clear. Or with all the "One Way" streets you see motorist driving the wrong way on becuase their navigation told them to go this way...Nevermind all the clearly posted signs that say "One Way" pointing and a specific direction or all the freaking cars driving directly for you.

Very small examples but the point is our society does not make decisions, we just do what we are told. From a pedestrian walk sign, from your GPS to authority. But police, police make decisions all day long and while we are sleeping. I am not saying they are angels just saying their job is tough.

Now back to Ian and Williams.... Knowing our society do as they are told. If an Officer is pointing a gun at you and tells you to do something and you dont do it, does that suggest ill intent?

Final thought, Ian had to make yet another decision that day and given the circumstances in my opinion having not ever done his job I believe he made a.....reasonable decision.

Listen everyone hates the cops....Until they need them.......
72
@67 --

@66 Unless he was shuffling at him backwards, there's no chance Williams was moving towards Birk. The bullet trajectories have confirmed that.


This statement is not true. No one has introduced any evidence during the inquiry to prove Williams had his back toward Birk when Birk shot him.
73
@72- As I recall, the evidence is that he was sideways to Birk when the bullets ripped through him.
74
@All who were asking about witnesses, ST reported on testimony from bystanders today: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/lo…
75
Anytime you have a confrontation with a cop, you might get KILLED! Even if you are just jaywalking, watch out cause you're breaking the law and could be MURDERED! Cops do whatever they want!! Thats why they are fucking cops!
76
Cienna....you missed the point in your closing remarks. Officer Birk was saying that if he waited for Williams to charge at him with the knife then he'd be reacting, which is slower than action. So he chose action because at that distance he wouldn't have time to respond (react) to an attack. Hope that helps.
77
@43, premeditation does not have to be HOURS of thinking about it. It is common knowledge among police and military, you do not pull your gun unless you are planning to use it. Birk pulled his gun almost IMMEDIATELY after exiting his patrol car. THAT can be construed as premeditation.
78
Fraidie-cat trigger-happy murderers belong in Walla Walla, not Seattle.