Working as a California and Seattle police misconduct attorney and handling Washington police misconduct cases for 11 years I am all too familiar with the pain of a victim’s family after a fatal police shooting. This week marked the start of the inquest into a Seattle police officer who shot a Native American wood carver which the family believes was a horrible act of police misconduct.

An investigation recently started into the death of a Native American wood carver who was shot by a Seattle police officer last summer. The police officer involved, Ian Birk, claims he approached the John T. Williams because he appeared intoxicated as he walked down the street with a plank of wood and a knife. The man then allegedly held the knife in a threatening manner and after ordering the man to drop the knife three times Birk fired four rounds, killing Williams.

According to Tim Ford, the attorney for Williams Family, however, and several witness accounts Williams did not appear to be threatening the officer and the officer fired four rounds within four seconds of his initial warning for Williams to drop his weapon. These reports Birk’s attorney claims were because of poor visibility and an inability for the witnesses to hear the interaction. According to Lisa Barron, the Seattle Fire Lt. who administered medical aid to Williams after the shooting, a knife was found unopened next to his body.

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The inquest is scheduled to continue into next week where witnesses will continue to make statements. The case will be decided by an inquest jury.

My thoughts go to the Williams family and all of those affected by this horrible incident. If you believe you or a loved one have been the victims of police misconduct do not wait to contact an attorney- you have a limited time to file your case. If you have questions or would like to schedule a FREE consultation you may contact our Seattle police misconduct law firm through the preceding link.

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