Today, King County Executive Dow Constantine ordered an inquest into the shooting death of John T. Williams by Seattle police officer Ian Birk on August 30, 2010.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recommended the inquest after his office reviewed investigative materials from the Seattle Police Department—including interviews with 16 civilian witnesses, officer witnesses, extensive physical evidence including audio and video tapes from Williams's shooting, and presumably the Medical Examiner's report that Williams wasn't facing Officer Birk when shot.

The KC Prosecutor's public inquest is a fact-finding mission that reviews the facts of the shooting before a six-member jury. The purpose isn't to determine the guilt or innocence of Officer Birk; however, Satterberg could seek charges against Birk stemming from the inquest. A civil suit could also result from the inquest.