Refreshing News 9
December 21, 2010

The Video: The Shooting of John T. Williams

Here’s the just-released, 17-minute video taken from the dashboard camera of Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk’s patrol car before, during, and after he fatally shot John T. Williams:

Just after 1:00 minute, the video shows Williams shuffling across the street—carrying a board and minding his own business—in front of Birk’s squad car. Birk jumps out and yells, “Hey, put the knife down.” Then Birk follows Williams out of the frame. After two more commands (audible while the men are off screen) there are shots fired that killed Williams. A woman is also shown crossing the street who appears to witness the whole thing from maybe 20 feet away.

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After 2:00, Officer Birk says, “Ma’am, he had a knife and he wouldn’t drop it.”

At 2:30, backup cars arrive.

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At about 3:00, a voice (probably Birk’s) says, “Yeah, I am okay. He had the knife open.” (The investigation has since said that police found the knife closed.)

At 5:10, another officer can be heard telling Birk, “You did the right thing. Hang in there, Ian.”

UPDATE: Literally adding insult to injury, here is video of “prior incidents” with Williams that the media / SPD released AHEAD of the shooting incident in obvious attempt to smear Williams and somehow justify the murder at hand. What the man’s history as a wandering drunk has to do with fatally shooting him 4 times within seconds of a verbal warning I don’t know. If cowardly officers with no regard for life feel “threatened” at the mere sight of a frequent drunk, they shouldn’t be on the force in the first place.

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