Patrol Car Video in Fatal Shooting of Woodcarver Released

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/432014_williams18.html

 Patrol car video released from an officer’s fatal meeting with John T. Williams does not show the shooting, but includes audio of their interaction. Officer Ian Birk, 27, shot Williams Aug. 30 at Boren Avenue and Howell Street. Williams died at the scene.

Birk yells “Hey!” three times to Williams, then yells three times to “Put the knife down.”

The first shot appears to be fired five seconds from when Birk first told Williams to put the knife down. Court documents show the knife was closed when photographed by investigators.

Less than a minute after the shooting, before backup officers arrive, Birk’s heard telling a woman Williams had a knife and wouldn’t drop it. He tells backup officers Williams had the knife open and was carving.  Williams’ knife had a 3-inch blade — one that is legal under the Seattle Municipal Code. Hundreds of people protested the shooting in September. Critics have said Williams was deaf in one ear and was not presenting a threat to Birk.

A shooting inquest is scheduled for January 20, 2011 (see Inquest blog below).