Police video of woodcarver shooting shown to inquest jury

Jan 10, 2011

 

A jury in King County has begun hearing testimony in the fatal shooting of a Native American woodcarver by a Seattle policeman. The incident happened in August.  It sparked outrage among many who say the killing was unjustified.

On Monday, jurors viewed police car video and listened to dramatic audio from the scene, including a clip of Officer Ian Birk yelling at John T. Williams to put his knife down and the sound of five gun shots being fired.

In testimony, a police detective told jurors that the knife found with Williams after the shooting was closed.  The inquest jury won’t determine the guilt or innocence of Officer Ian Birk. Their job is to determine exactly what happened. 

It’s up to the King County Prosecuting Attorney to decide whether to file criminal charges.