Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Jack-Booted Thug of the Week...

... is Seattle, Washington police officer Ian Birk, for allegedly executing local Native American woodcarver John T. Williams on August 30 of this year for the heinous "crime" of walking down a public street while carving a piece of wood with a legal-length pocketknife.

Video from Birk's patrol car dashcam has been released, and the footage seems to show that Birk wildly overreacted to Williams's perfectly innocent whittling while slowly crossing an intersection in front of his cruiser by jumping out, ordering Williams to drop the knife and then shooting at him 5 times in rapid succession (in the middle of a crowded sidewalk with both pedestrian and vehicle traffic passing close by), hitting him 4 times in the right side:

Birk's first command to drop the knife comes at 0:17 in the video, and the first shot comes at 0:24.  A mere seven seconds, a period during which there has been absolutely no evidence that Williams made any sort of threatening move towards Birk, or anyone else for that matter. 

Williams, by the way, was deaf in his right ear and was apparently wearing headphones at the time, so he probably wouldn't have heard Birk's commands at all (or even seen the cop for that matter, since the autopsy proved that Williams wasn't facing Birk when he received his fatal gunshot wounds).  This innocent (of this "crime", anyway; Williams had a long record of nuisance crimes but certainly didn't deserve this tragic fate) person may have never even noticed the man who gunned him down for engaging in a perfectly lawful activity.

"Birk's badge was later pulled after a Seattle Police Department Review Board and Chief John Diaz reached a preliminary finding that Williams' shooting was not justified."

That's fairly obvious.

An official inquest into the incident is scheduled for January 10.  From all of the public facts released to date, it appears that it will be a very short one that leads to a charge of homicide for (hopefully ex-) Officer Birk.

Lunchtime strollers in Seattle, watch where you peel your apple or slice your pickle.  You just might get a lead dessert courtesy of the local gendarmes if you aren't careful enough.


Bike Bubba said...

Can I suggest that the better phrase would be that the man was murdered? "Execution" suggests a level of official authority which does not appear to exist here.

Andrew said...

That is f***** chilling.

Crotalus (Dont Tread on Me) said...

And people wonder why more cops are getting shot. Revenge, perhaps, since justice is denied?

This is probably the most heinous example of David Codrea's "Only Ones".

Anonymous said...

Sweet Jesus fuck.

I'm half deaf and walk around wearing headphones a lot also. And I carry a swiss army knife.

Anonymous said...

If ever there was a case that warranted the so-called "officer" being EXECUTED, this is it.

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