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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 03:06 AM
Original message
Homeless man shot down by Seattle cops
Seattle police officer Ian Birk says that when he saw John Williams holding a knife and piece of wood on the corner of Boren Avenue and Howell Street downtown, he stopped his car, switched on his emergency lights and stepped out to confront the man. After telling Williams to drop the knife three times, Birk fired four rounds at Williams from approximately 10 feet away, killing the homeless man. The entire reportedly incident lasted about a minute.

On the day of the shooting, Seattle Police Department spokeswoman Renee Witt said, "The male stood up and made advances toward the officer. The officer yelled very loud commands for the gentleman to stop and to drop the knife, at which point he did not."

But witnesses tell it differently. "When I heard that story, I was really upset because it was just total counter to what I witnessed," one onlooker told King 5 News. According to this witness, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Thomas, Williams was actually walking away from Officer Birk.

The weapon that allegedly posed such a threat to Officer Birk was a knife with a three-inch blade that Williams used to carve wood. Williams was a Ditidaht member of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations...Williams was also a seventh-generation carver--that's why he was carrying the knife and the wood. He often carved miniature totem poles that he sold to buy food, and sometimes alcohol--but also to buy food and gifts for his friends. According to friends of Williams, the day he died, he was on his way to sell his art at Pike Place Market.



http://socialistworker.org/2010/09/08/shot-down-by-seat...


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Norrin Radd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 03:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. Saw his pic on a corner surrounded by flowers. I was wondering
what happened.
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 06:28 AM
Response to Original message
2. I guess you have to have a home to count as a Human Being.
:wtf:
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Or at least not hold a knife when ordered to drop it repeatedly
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Goes one version of events.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
19. The cop's car audio caught 3 warnings given.
Diaz said investigators were looking for additional video that may have been taken in the area that shows the fatal shooting.

"You could hear the officer tell the man three times to drop the knife," Metz said of the audio recorded by the in-car camera. "The officer yelled these commands, and these commands were heard by some of the witnesses interviewed as well."

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/426004_police01.html

Given the victim's criminal history, I'm not going to be surprised when his blood tox comes back postiive for alcohol. Nor will I be surprised when the cop is cleared of wrongdoing, since it was an open, deadly blade, he was within 20 feet of the officer, and did not follow commands.

Picture of knife,

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012769...

criminal record.
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/426004_police01.html

Not saying it's right. Saying that I think the cop acted within guidelines and will not be criminally charged.
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Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. riiiight.... the way cops shout "don't resist" at the person writing on the ground
while being tasered. Something needs to be done to hold out of control cops accountable. The 'good cops' certainly aren't doing anything to hold the 'bad apples' accountable.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #22
32. Is that what happened here?
I was writing specifically about this incident.
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Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #32
35. There's a pattern of abuse that can't be ignored
Just because there's audio of the cop telling his murder victim to put down his pocket knife doesn't prove that the victim was being a threat. The fact that witnesses say the cop shot the victim in the back says more about what happened than some audio.

The 'resisting arrest' or 'posing a threat' excuse is wearing thin.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #35
62. Again, I'm talking about this specific incident.
The audio proves the cop was not lying about warning the victim.

If Mr. Williams was shot in the back, his autopsy will reflect that.
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Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #62
77. The audio isn't conclusive proof of anything.
The example I gave illustrates that fact.

As you say, the autopsy will prove the facts, was well as testimony from witnesses.

Frankly I don't understand the blind, knee jerk defense of the police. I would think that the public AND the many decent folks that are police officers would want to root out those who abuse power, are bigoted or worse are murderers.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #77
81. The audio is conclusive proof of warnings given, Up the subthread,
it was suggested that the cop lied when he said that he warned Williams. He did not.

As I note downthread, one witness cited by Hannah Bell actually helps the cops....she states that Williams' back was to her, and that he was facing the cop....

Nothing knee jerk about it....if this cop did wrong, he should be punished. But so far, no one here has posted anything that indicates to me that this shooting will fall without his department's guidelines.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #81
94. BULLSHIT. SUCH BULLSHIT. The Seattle Police are already backtracking on their
original story, & your "revised" version of my post is BULLSHIT.

The killing was blatant murder, completely inexcusable, & no witnesses support the cops' original version.

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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #94
130. Well, "BULLSHIT" is certainly dispositive. Your lack of citation notwithstanding.
Edited on Fri Sep-10-10 10:27 PM by msanthrope
Certainly, if, downthread, you could dispute the fact that the witness you cited didn't back the cop's story, you would.

You would simply cite her published account.

But you don't.

And there's a reason why.

Your witness, recounted downthread, does not see Williams' hands. Because she was behind him.

And she never, ever, mentions the cop shooting him "in the back."

Because that isn't what she saw.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #94
134. If no witnesses support the cop, then cite them. Specifically. n/t
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 08:34 PM
Response to Reply #81
113. The witness doesn't say the victim was "facing the cop".
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 08:39 PM by Hannah Bell
The witness was in a car going north. The cop going south. The victim crossed between them at the crosswalk going west. The cop turned on his lights, got out of the car, & went after the victim on the northwest corner. The witness only noticed the cop car when he turned on his lights and got out of his car to pursue the suspect who had crossed the street and was moving AWAY from where the officer was, going west.

The fact that the victim had his back turned toward the witness when she saw him DOESN'T EQUAL "tHE victim was facing the cop".



"Acting Deputy Chief Nick Metz said Tuesday that Birk was stopped in his car at a red light as he headed south on Boren when he spotted Williams walking in a crosswalk "carrying a wooden board and a knife."

The video, which hasn't been made public, shows Williams crossing the street in front of Birk and, moments later, the officer crossing in front of his car to the northwest corner of Boren and Howell, Metz said. The camera did not capture video of the shooting, but Birk can be heard on an audio recording ordering Williams three times to drop the knife, he said."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012769...






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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #113
131. Did your witness forget to note that the cop shot him in the back?
Perhaps you could note the part where your witness says that.

It's important.


Oh, wait.....
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #22
51. the fact that good cops...
won't hold bad cops accountable is the reason that a lot of people despise all cops.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #51
109. yep. the ones defending this are always ready to hold the poor, the homeless,
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 08:08 PM by Hannah Bell
& the powerless "accountable", though.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #19
104. Open, deadly blade?
Geez, we call that a tool around here, which is exactly what it is. The man was not threatening the cop, he was simply not doing what the cop wanted him to do. I'm old enough to remember back in the day when a cop wouldn't kill a man for not following an order when it wasn't a threatening situation. But that was back in the day, before cops lost their decency entirely.

Hell, I've walked through the middle of town carrying an open, naked broadsword, past a cop and nothing was said. But then again, I did have a home at the time.

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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #19
128. Knife was legal to carry within Seattle
A 3" blade knife is legal.

The victim was known to be deaf in one ear. He also was known to have cognitive problems as a result of alcoholism.

You might also be interested to note that his "criminal record" consisted mainly of arrests for lewd behavior/public drunkenness. In other words, he probably peed in a gutter.

That man was not dangerous to anyone else. There is a reason why the witnesses will not give anything but a first name. I should also add that it's comical to watch the SPD "searching for additional video". They're not going to find it.

The guy in question committed the crime of homelessness and alcohol abuse. The cop won't be criminally charged. The police will be writing a LARGE check to the relatives, however, and it's one more reason why it's a good idea to stay out of downtown Seattle.
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slampoet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. If you made all your living from just one tool would you let a cop take it?
Edited on Wed Sep-08-10 10:57 AM by slampoet
How does a cop see a three inch blade from a moving car?

Are you aware that having a three inch blade is COMPLETELY legal even if it is concealed?

Given that the cop was stopping for something that wasn't even a crime, why do you insist on buying his side Immediately?

Have you ever had to sell something you made with your own hands just to get a hot meal in your life? I bet the cop never has.

Also the cop is changing his story,

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

It also looks like the homeless man was partially deaf. Have you ever had to deal with a disabled person? Have you ever had a disability?


But you probably don't care because you are likely a hit and run snark. Most of the ones with no info on their profile are, or am I judging you from appearances like a cop judging the homeless man?
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Law enforcement's record with the Deaf community is horrendous
When a cop yells "Freeze!", he expects you to freeze. If you don't, he assumes you're a dangerous suspect. The thought that you might be Deaf never enters his mind.

It's happened to someone I know, who was shoved down on the ground and cuffed after a DUI stop.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. "Given that the cop was stopping for something that wasn't even a crime, why do you insist on buying
his side Immediately?"

Because hatred of homeless people is rampant, and it is time we recognize that fact.
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. Some among us welcome the encroaching police state. nt
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slampoet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. I was right.
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #3
15. Huh! Incident took ~ 60 seconds. Officer got 4 shots off. Doesn't sound like a lot of time for
'repeatedly.' Witnesses dispute the asshole...er...officer's account.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. sounds like plenty of time to me.
How long does it take you to repeatedly shout "drop the knife?"
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #21
26. Might be good to allow time for the person to drop the knife after you yell at them.
I'm int clined to believe the witnesses who did not see the man as posing a threat and felt he was walking away from the officer. The cop's going to be out to save his own butt. I don't see the witnesses have a reason to lie. And 3 shots? Or 4? A little excessive to stop a guy with a 3 inch knife.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. 60 seconds is more then enough time to expect a person to drop the knife.
If the person was deaf, that just makes it more of a senseless tragedy, not a fault on the officer's part.

If the officer was lying and the guy was walking away, then like the other guy said, the autopsy will show that. Witnesses lie all the time.
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BakedAtAMileHigh Donating Member (900 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. cops lie just as often
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 02:08 PM by BakedAtAMileHigh
You would make a great officer.

Do you really believe it is not the cop's responsibility to insure he is communicating effectively before he ends someone's life? Do you find that an unreasonable expectation?

:eyes:
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. You got any statistics to back that up?


"Do you really believe it is not the cop's responsibility to insure he is communicating effectively before he ends someone's life?"

I believe it's some guy's responsibility to drop the knife if a cop's shouting at him to drop it.

If he's deaf in one ear and got an ear bud in the other, then it's just a senseless tragedy.

And Occam's Razor says that's probably what happened.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. Plus alcohol....
They haven't released the tox screen yet, but Mr. Williams had been arrested three days before for being drunk, and had numerous public intoxication raps.

It's sad.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #33
43. being drunk is a killing offense now? it's sad.
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #43
54. If you are homeless, too...
since the man is homeless, this will be swept under the rug. The cop will get a paid vacation, I mean suspension, while the investigation proves he was not at fault.
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anarch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #43
58. nah...just being poor and non-white
being also drunk is just a kind of "three strikes...now we kill you" sort of thing
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #43
70. Not a killing offense---but a contributory factor in the death.
If, and I stress, if, the victim was drunk, then the victim contributed to the situation. That's tragic, but cops generally aren't held accountable for the voluntary drunkeness of citizens.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #70
110. what bullshit from the person who insists on holding teachers "accountable" for things beyond their
control.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #110
132. I don't hold teachers accountable for students with knives. n/t
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #30
65. "it's just a senseless tragedy." JUST a senseless tragedy. Senseless ineed
He couldn't hear so got shot. He was missing his sense of hearing and got shot.

He got shot because a cop decided to shoot him for not dropping a legal knife. "I believe it's some guy's responsibility to drop the knife if a cop's shouting at him to drop it." Yet you believe it is not the cop's responsibility to make sure he was heard. So the cop shot someone for holding a legal knife, not endangering anyone but a piece of wood.

And it is "JUST" a senseless tragedy, no responsibility to the cop.

Wild.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #65
87. If he could hear, maybe he'd have the sense to drop the knife.
And the cop wouldn't have shot him.

:shrug:
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #87
99. If the cop didn't freak out about being disobeyed, maybe he wouldn't have shot him
If the cop didn't freak out about a man whittling and ignoring him, maybe he wouldn't have shot him.

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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #87
116. bullshit on the implication that any refusal of police orders = license to kill. fascist garbage.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. Witnesses are also damned confused, normally.
This cop activated the audio and video on his cop car....so the audio captured his warnings. The video did not capture the shootings, however.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #31
63. There were *many* witnesses. No one has disputed the warnings.
The warnings were noted in the OP.

There were witnesses in the street & witnesses observing from traffic.

Amber Maurina, 28, said she was driving home Monday afternoon from a doctor's appointment and was stopped at a red light at Boren and Howell. She said she was facing north on Boren and saw the officer stop his patrol car, which was facing south on Boren, and get out.

Maurina said a tall, scruffy-looking man was standing with his back to her. She said she never saw the man's hands but thought he might be urinating or fumbling around in a fanny pack. Maurina said she watched the officer approach the man and saw him mouthing something to the man, who did not appear to respond.

"His body stance did not look threatening at all," she said of the man. "I could only see the gentleman's back, and he didn't look aggressive at all. He didn't even look up at the officer."

The officer approached the man, but was still "at least two car-lengths" away, Maurina said, when she heard the officer say, "Hey, hey, hey," followed by gunshots.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012769...

The dispute is about whether:

1) The victim constituted any kind of threat that justified stopping him in the first place
2) The victim constituted a personal threat to the cop when he shot
3) If the victim *did* constitute a threat, why was deadly force, 4 shots, the first resort.


In last week's shooting, John T. Williams, 50, was shot by Officer Ian Birk at a busy intersection near downtown, prompting witnesses and Williams' friends to question whether the well-known public inebriate, who was carrying a small knife and a piece of wood, posed any threat to the officer.

His death prompted more protests Wednesday, including a sharply worded letter from the American Civil Liberties Union urging the department to change its attitude toward the use of force.

"Too often, officers have overreacted or escalated incidents when the subject is an individual of color, disabled, homeless or, otherwise 'different,' " ACLU Director Kathleen Taylor wrote in an open letter Wednesday to Diaz, Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council. "This mindset must change," she wrote. "The pattern of violence must stop."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012839...




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TheKentuckian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #27
34. What don't you get about not being a threat?
Your pro-death penalty without trial stance for not obeying police instructions is not laudable.

Your that's the way the cookie crumbles attitude no respect for life or you fellow man.
Your empathy is reserved for authority, it seems.

Why are you excusing a shooting like this? Nobody was being threatened, the cop had no rational reason to feel his life was in danger.
We are citizens not varmints.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #34
38. Cut the crap.
Nobody's buying.
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timtom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Wait..wait, sir.
I'm buying.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #40
42. we are not worthy...
of sharing this discussion board with you :sarcasm:
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #42
68. Huh.
are the New DU rules such that getting a post deleted means you can't post in that thread again? I can't remember and was wondering if that was right. Being curious.
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #68
90. I was just commenting to a post...
that was later deleted. The person has posted later in this thread.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #90
97. So I see. Odd, that.
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timtom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #42
96. Damn! I missed what must have been
an intentionally intellectually honest point of view, laden with wit and all manner of merriment.

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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #96
114. a gay time was had by all. nt
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TheKentuckian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #38
76. My craps not for sale like some folks. I give it out free outta love.
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #27
41. and cops are such paragons of truth. nt
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #41
53. You're dodging the issue.
The other guy said he couldn't imagine that witnesses would lie, not that cops would never lie.

And just how long does it take you to repeatedly say "drop the knife?"
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #53
59. and if the person is hard of hearing...
how long does it take him to hear this? If you make money making wood carvings you would not look see a 3 inch blade as a weapon. He didn't lunge at the cop with it or make threatening gestures. He was minding his own damn business until some power hungry asshole had to jump in and start harassing people. But don't worry, nothing will happen to the cop- it never does.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #59
60. If a person is hard of hearing, it doesn't change anything.
The claim that the guy was heard of hearing is an argument in the cop's defense.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #60
66. Not being able to hear a cop tell you to drop your carving tool is an argument in the shooting cop's
defense? "He couldn't hear me so I had no choice but to shoot and kill him to show him he should'a listened". Yup. Quite a defense that will be.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #66
73. UP, the cop didn't know the guy was hard of hearing. This is monday morning quarterbacking.
You wouldn't expect a cop to let himself get stabbed by some guy with knife, on the off chance that the guy might be deaf.

The officer claims he ordered the guy to drop the knife. The argument that he was partially deaf explains the reason why the guy did not drop the knife (and apparently the recorded audio corroborates it). Making this all a senseless tragedy, rather than the cold blooded murder that you'd like it to be.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #73
98. Except he wasn't trying to stab the cop. 1 article I read talks about having cops that know the area
patrolling an area. Other police knew he was hard of hearing and carved stuff. This cop doesn't seem to have. From what I've read, living in the area and with friends very local there, the cop over reacted since he wasn't in danger of being stabbed.

Cop over reacted. How can you still post in this thread having a post deleted?
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #60
71. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #71
74. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #27
45. 1. pocket knives are *legal*. 2) if the cop thought he was threatening, why didn't he taze him v.
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 04:36 PM by Hannah Bell
kill him?

god knows the cops don't hesitate to taze students, children & grandmas.

why 4 shots?

Alex Castas, general manager of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the Seattle waterfront, said his shop has been buying carvings from Williams' family for five generations, stretching back to the 1880s, when the shop used to buy from tribal members paddling up in canoes.

He said he had known Williams for 15 years, and never known him to be violent, though he often knew Williams to be incoherent because of drinking.

"I can definitely see a scenario where John had been drinking and it is taking him a while to focus exactly on what is going on; I could see him tripping more than I could see him lunging."

It was the same for Chaney Haney and Julie Reisman, co-owners of Glo, a restaurant on Capitol Hill where Williams sold his work, and liked to sit on the bench outside on the sidewalk, carving.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012784...
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #45
52. cops shoot people who come after them with knives.
so would you, if some guy lunged at you with a knife.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #52
55. funny "lunge," with back turned & more than 10 feet away.
you're johnny on the spot to justify anything cops do.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #55
57. Not according to the cop.
If the autopsy shows the witness is lying, will you apologize?
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #57
61. There were *many* witnesses, & the police dept has already changed its tune
& gone to mend fences with the NA community. I happen to know a little of the inside baseball on this one, & there's no danger I'll be apologizing for anything.

Pocket knives are *legal*. The man was threatening *no one*.

Seattle police Tuesday offered different details of Monday's fatal shooting of a homeless man by a patrol officer, with commanders saying they now don't know if the man advanced toward the officer with a knife as police originally reported.

"Amber Maurina, 28, said she was driving home Monday afternoon from a doctor's appointment and was stopped at a red light at Boren and Howell. She said she was facing north on Boren and saw the officer stop his patrol car, which was facing south on Boren, and get out.

Maurina said a tall, scruffy-looking man was standing with his back to her. She said she never saw the man's hands but thought he might be urinating or fumbling around in a fanny pack. Maurina said she watched the officer approach the man and saw him mouthing something to the man, who did not appear to respond.

"His body stance did not look threatening at all," she said of the man. "I could only see the gentleman's back, and he didn't look aggressive at all. He didn't even look up at the officer."

The officer approached the man, but was still "at least two car-lengths" away, Maurina said, when she heard the officer say, "Hey, hey, hey," followed by gunshots."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012769...


The shooting has confronted Diaz with his greatest crisis since he was elevated from interim to permanent chief last month, coming on the heels of highly publicized cases in which a white male officer punched a young black woman in a jaywalking incident and two officers kicked a prone Latino man, with one using ethnically inflammatory language.

In last week's shooting, John T. Williams, 50, was shot by Officer Ian Birk at a busy intersection near downtown, prompting witnesses and Williams' friends to question whether the well-known public inebriate, who was carrying a small knife and a piece of wood, posed any threat to the officer.

His death prompted more protests Wednesday, including a sharply worded letter from the American Civil Liberties Union urging the department to change its attitude toward the use of force.

"Too often, officers have overreacted or escalated incidents when the subject is an individual of color, disabled, homeless or, otherwise 'different,' " ACLU Director Kathleen Taylor wrote in an open letter Wednesday to Diaz, Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council. "This mindset must change," she wrote. "The pattern of violence must stop."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012839...
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #61
75. Your links don't support your assertions.
In the first link, you have a witness who SUPPORTS the cop's testimony that Williams was facing him---Maurina describes seeing William's back, as he was facing the cop. That's why she never saw his hands....

Understand that in the link you posted, the witness SUPPORTS the cops assertion that Williams was facing him. Further, because she didn't see his hands--which she admits to---she can't disprove any assertion the cops makes about what Williams had in his hands. As for her assertions that Williams didn't look agressive--well, I could have demolished that testimony in a Trial Ad hypo.

She's actually a good witness for the cop, if prepped properly.



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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #75
79. "two car lengths" doesn't support the assertion of imminent danger, nor does
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 05:50 PM by Hannah Bell
her other testimony support the assertion of "threat".

nor does her account explicitly describe whether williams was "facing" the cop. here's the corner:

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Boren+and+Howell+se...

there's no dispute about what was in his hands: a (legal) three-inch pocketknife & a piece of wood.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #79
83. Actually, "two car lengths" does support the assertion of threat....
Basic rule of cop shooting, Hannah---

The danger zone that cops are trained to respond to varies a bit by department, but it is commonly about 20 feet. If you are within that zone, then you are trained to respond with appropriate force. A knife? Generally, that justifies a gun. Now, I've read other reports...where the cop estimated that Williams was 9 feet away. That's not such a great discrepancy with "two car lengths." A police officer, as any jury will be instructed is absolutely not obligated to allow a person to get close enough to stab.

Now, as to her position, you need to CAREFULLY read what you posted--the witness is coming NORTH. The cop was coming South. The witness testifies she sees Williams from the back....so, that means the cop is facing him--unless you are asserting that the laws of physics simply do not apply in Seattle.**** After all, your witness did not say she saw Williams get shot in the back--or maybe she did and you forgot to cite it?


It is not my fault you don't read your own links.


****I thank you for the Cousin Vinny reference opportunity.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #83
85. BULLSHIT. YOU WILL JUSTIFY ANYTHING.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #85
88. I think you're projecting.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #88
91. I think you'll justify anything a cop does.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #91
92. I think you get mad at people who are correct.
Because their correctness is incompatible with your preconceived notions.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #92
95. The cops are already backtracking on the original story & running to
the native american community to grovel.

That's how "correct" your apologetics are.

The cop murdered the man. Period.
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KansasVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #88
119. You defense of Cops is so ridiculous that I think you are just joking!
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #45
67. 1) Guns are legal, too. Point one at a cop, see what happens. 2) Cop didn't have a Tazer.
From your OWN link, you provide evidence of just why this cop will probably not be charged---possible voluntary drunkeness of the victim.

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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #67
80. guns aren't legal without licenses. there's no evidence the victim "pointed" his knife at the cop,
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 06:06 PM by Hannah Bell
or anyone else. Here's what the officer states he saw:

"Police say Officer Birkwho is 27, and has been with the department for two yearswas driving southbound on Howell St when he saw Williams cross in a crosswalk, carrying a wooden board and a knife. Officer Birk saw the man USING THE KNIFE ON THE BOARD, pulled over, and turned on his car's light bar, activating the in-car recording system."

The whole encounter took place in less than a minute, according to police, before Officer Birk fired four rounds, killing Williams. Officer Birk was not injured in the incident.

http://www.seattlecrime.com/2010/08/31/chief-diaz-i-hav...

fail. The victim was cutting the piece of wood as he walked. LESS THAN ONE MINUTE FROM START TO FINISH, WITH A WITNESS STOPPED IN TRAFFIC STATING THE VICTIM WAS TWO CAR LENGTHS FROM THE COP WHEN HE WAS KILLED.

Williams lived in a supportive housing unit for chronic alcoholics just down the street from where he was killed.

drunkenness doesn't justify murder.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #80
93. Um, yes, they are.
The argument that "the knife was legal" is a losing argument.

The police officer had the right to approach the man. The police officer had the right to demand that he drop the knife.

"there's no evidence the victim "pointed" his knife at the cop"

No, but there's evidence that he didn't drop the knife when ordered, which is still threatening behavior.

"drunkenness doesn't justify murder."

Nobody said it did. Not that there's any evidence of murder.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #93
100. "he police officer had the right to demand that he drop the knife." and when he didn't, cop simply
shot him rather than thinking "hey, maybe he didn't hear me". Nope, simply bam.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #100
101. Actually, he repeated it several times over.
Like I said above, and you ignored, I don't think assuming everybody who fails to drop a weapon might be deaf is a rational thing to do.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #101
102. Ignoring the possibility and simply shooting 4 times isn't rational.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #102
103. It is if he thinks he or a bystander is in danger.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #103
106. No one was in danger. No one was being threatened. No one had asked for the help
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 07:50 PM by Hannah Bell
of the police. The man was not interacting with anyone. He was walking across the street down the street from the shelter where he lived, carving a piece of wood.

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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #106
107. Can you prove that the officer had no reason to suspect that there was?
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #107
112. you can't "prove" what someone "suspected." more than three witnesses say they saw
no threat, nor any reason to stop the guy.

not good enough for people who will defend any vile act a policeman commits, however, and insist we must "prove" what's in someone's mind.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #107
124. Prove a negative? Oh. Kay. No one complained about him, no one said they were scared, no one
except the dead shot guy was in danger.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #103
123. No one else thought anyone was in danger. Only one is danger is from the cop with the gun
No one lunged at the cop. No bystander was in danger. No cop was in danger. The cop over reacted.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #102
137. Cops, most of them, are taught to shoot a tight 3.
Not kidding. Most cops are taught to shoot a tight three to the body--or the 10 ring.

They are not taught to consider deaf and drunk people. Why? Because that isn't what they deal with, mostly. (The confluence.)

They are taught that knives are the equivalent of guns, especially within 20 feet.



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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #93
105. um, no they're not. the policeman had no REASON to approach the man, & no REASON
to shoot him.

Fuck your bullshit.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #105
108. Sure he did.
Are you telling me you wouldn't be suspicious of a drunken homeless guy with a knife on some city corner at night? Because I wouldn't believe you.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #108
111. it wasn't night, for starters. and no, i wouldn't be "suspicious" of a drunk indian walking
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 08:12 PM by Hannah Bell
across the street carving a piece of wood with a pocketknife.

when i was a teenage girl i used to go down to pike & talk to drunk indians. they were nice people, and not "threatening".

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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #108
115. Williams was killed in the afternoon. It wasn't night.
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 09:11 PM by suffragette
It was daylight.

The police have verified that there had been no complaint immediately before the shooting:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012845...

The first person to address the police was the Rev. Harriett Walden of Mothers for Police Accountability. She said it seemed as if Williams had been profiled by the officer who shot him, adding that it's not a crime to be homeless, poor, a carver or an alcoholic all of which described Williams.

She asked whether Williams had been suspected of any crime.

Diaz said that although he couldn't talk about the investigation because it is ongoing, he could say there had been no complaints about Williams immediately before the shooting.





The police department has now retracted the "lunging" part of the report. There is also the fact (I linked this elsewhere in this thread) the first version of the incident was quickly retracted and changed completely from Williams being seated to him walking at a crosswalk.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/the-buck-stops-with-...
Preliminary reports that Williams lunged at Birk have since been retracted. "We dropped the lunging and advancing pending further need for investigation," says police spokesman Sean Whitcomb.

A witness told the Seattle Times, "His body stance did not look threatening at all. I could only see the gentleman's back, and he didn't look aggressive at all. He didn't even look up at the officer."

This is exactly the sort of quick escalation the city has been trying to avoid. Before Diaz was sworn in as the police chief on August 16, the Seattle City Council presented him with a four-point letter highlighting the areas where the SPD needs to make dramatic improvements. The council wrote that Diaz needed to "quickly develop and fully implement the most effective training available for minimizing and de-escalating conflict in encounters between officers and civilians."

Seattle officers and civilians have had a series of high-profile conflicts that escalated rapidly: on September 4, officers using a Taser on a man who later died; an officer punching a 17-year-old girl in the face after a routine jaywalking stop in June; Officer Shandy Cobane apparently stomping the head of a Latino suspect in April while shouting, "I'm going to beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you, homie," as the man lay face down on the pavement (King County prosecutors declined to charge Cobane with a felony hate crime); a mentally disabled teenager allegedly beaten by three officers for jaywalking in July 2009 (exonerated of wrongdoing by SPD's Office of Professional Accountability; the teen has filed a lawsuit against SPD and the City of Seattle).

The Williams incident only exacerbates concerns shared by many in the city that the Seattle Police Department has carte blanche to use excessive force, particularly on marginalized populations.






All of this happened only a few blocks from the police department. With no complaint at that moment about Williams, with every witness account saying they saw no threat, with the full support of the police department moments (not even minutes) away, this officer shot and killed him and his version of events has changed, with parts of it being altered or retracted by the police department a couple times.

You say you won't believe a response that differs from your point of view, but I can say that I have actually encountered John Williams many times and no, I was never suspicious or afraid of him.



edited to add space to separate my statements from articles for clarity
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #115
117. Bears repeating: THE POLICE HAVE RETRACTED THE CLAIM THAT WILLIAMS "LUNGED" AT THE COP.
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 10:09 PM by Hannah Bell
A big fat lie to justify a murder.

and something else; i know people on spd & there are many who knew the victim & don't want to have to stand behind this asshat shooter. the victim was well-known in the community & people know the shooter was way out of line. not every policeman is an apologist for murder, & being an apologist for out-of-line cops isn't a defense of police, but a defense of the police state.

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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #117
120. Exactly
Thank you for this thread Hannah.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #117
135. Kindly cite it? n/t
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KansasVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #108
118. LOL......are you a disgruntled cop? :-)
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 11:40 PM
Response to Reply #108
122. It wasn't night, he was sitting and carving. Shot for whittling. Gotcha
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #21
129. How long does it take to hear someone yelling at you if you can't?
If the account upthread is accurate (and I believe Hannah Bell's is,) the guy in question had less than thirty seconds to figure out the cop was a) yelling at him while his back was turned, and b) figure out that it meant HIM, not someone else. The guy was deaf in one ear.

He was too dead to understand at sixty seconds, wasn't he?

Four shots on a crowded sidewalk on a Friday afternoon in downtown Seattle? Who's wielding the "deadly weapon"?
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
44. He was also very hard of hearing. Just in case you didn't know.
Not being able to hear was probably a factor.
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Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
49. No that was stupid what the cop did, you don't kill someone for
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 04:46 PM by Rex
holding a knife. Maybe if they approached you, but that is not the case here. An eyewitness said the man was backing off, so the cop unloaded 4 rounds into his chest. Really some of the worst police brutality I've heard in awhile. Of course the cop 'did nothing wrong' and will never be held accountable for blowing away a homeless man holding a 3 inch carving knife. :(
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #3
50. Because sitting down whittling wood...
while being hard of hearing is a good excuse for a cop to stop his car and check things out:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Cop is changing his story- Surprise, surprise, surprise
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Mugweed Donating Member (939 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. To police, you have to be a fellow officer to count as a Human Being
Otherwise, you're expendable. The NWA had it right.
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CanonRay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
6. The forensics should sort this out
If he was really walking away, there should be like, holes in his back, not his front.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 10:06 AM
Response to Original message
7. Business as usual.

Over-reactive or casual murder of the poor and especially the homeless is becoming damn near commonplace. It happens about once a year in this county, it is always the same, a person with an edged weapon, often insignificant, is said to be threatening to a cop armed with a 15-20 shot semi-auto, club and maybe taser and body armor. Witnesses often differ with the police account. The case is closed and forgotten.

Ya gotta wonder, was this cop in Iraq? Police departments in these parts hire recently discharged vets preferentially. Bringing the war back home.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. You have the facts right, now what are we going to do about it?
We homeless people don't have an Anti-Defamantion League, or an NAACP, or a PFLAG, or a NOW.. when are we going to step up and organize against this madness???
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #7
56. "It happens about once a year in this county"...
you need to add the words "that we hear about". I have no doubt this happens a lot more often- some people in our society are "disposable"
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-10 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
8. More info here, including the officer changing his account

of events, more witness reports and John Williams' being partially deaf.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

RIP, John.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
12. This is one of the results of the massive misinformation about homelessness, including
what is posted on DU repeatedly.

By constantly repeating erroneous lies like "Most homeless people are 'mentally ill'" and the like, "progressives" are feeding into this kind of action.

It is finally time we look to ourselves... *WE* share some of the blame for this.

:cry:
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OneGrassRoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. I like this website....

where they dispute much of this misinformation used to dehumanize others. :cry:

http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets /

And, really, as far as mental illness and addiction, I'm afraid many use those labels in order to wash their hands of the crisis, and any compassion about the crisis, by telling themselves people are homeless because of mental illness and/or addiction.

But is that really anything to wash our hands of as a society? Is that an excuse to ignore others and not make eye contact? Both conditions, when truly applicable, are deserving of both compassion and treatment if the person is ready to receive them; there will always be those, regardless of their living situation, who refuse to get better, but that doesn't describe the vast majority of homeless persons at all.

For those who are suffering from mental illness and/or addiction, I often wonder: Did that indeed lead to their homelessness, or is it a RESULT of the homelessness?

Either way, it doesn't matter. What matters to me is to acknowledge the facts, including the reality that many of us are one step away from being homeless ourselves, and fight the dehumanization of the most vulnerable among us.



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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. We have written essays using those factsheets.
We have repeatedly countered this voluminous misinformation here at DU, and given all the stats and sources.

Yet, it is continually posted here.

How do we stop this ignorance of "progressives"?
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OneGrassRoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. I'm sorry, Bobbie. I just don't know. :( n/t
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. yes I agree with your sadness... Willful ignorance is causing sufferig and deaths and now one more.
I'm sick of the rampant prejudice causing this!

:cry:
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #18
46. "How do we stop this ignorance of "progressives"?"
I would say educate them, but a lot seem willfully ignorant.
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. 30 years ago, Reagan dumped the mentally ill into the streets. That has allowed people to believe...
"Most homeless people are mentally ill." It never has been true and it's less and less true as time goes on.

Whenever we start a phrase with, "Most homeless people..." we need to stop. The only thing we can say about a homeless person we don't know is...they don't have a home. It is time to realize they are individuals like everyone else and stop with the stereotyping that allows the discrimination and abuse to continue.

My heart breaks over this story.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. Thank you for correcting that lie. According to the NCH, it is 16%.
That does not a majority make, let alone "most". Recently there was a post here asserting that 95% of homeless people are "mentally ill" and when confronted with the erroneousness of that, (not to mention the ridiculousness!), the poster got irate and attacked.

Actually, I don't have the source at hand right now, but it is my understanding that the "dumping" of mental patients mostly happened before Raygun...like in the 50s. We need to clarify this, and get our facts straight.

What Raygun did was to CUT THE FUNDING FOR LOW-INCOME HOUSING.

Yes, apparently it needs to be shouted.

THAT is what caused the epidemic of homelessness, and we need to shout it from the rooftops!

Thank you for being so steadfast in refudiating the lies! We need more like you!

:hug:
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. Reagan cut both-low income housing & funding for mental health institutes.
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 02:20 PM by laughingliberal
First, he made cuts in CA while governor. Then he treated the entire country to his form of cruelty to the mentally ill.

The Ugly: the closing of mental health hospitals in California and across the United States.<edit> State mental hospitals were taken away by Governor Reagan in the seventies, and federal mental health programs were later taken away by President Reagan in the eighties.

When Ronald Reagan was governor of California he systematically began closing down mental hospitals, later as president he would cut aid for federally-funded community mental health programs. It is not a coincidence that the homeless populations in the state of California grew in the seventies and eighties. The people were put out on the street when mental hospitals started to close all over the state.

Seeing an increase in crime, and brutal murders by Herb Mullin, a mental hospital patient, the state legislature passed a law that would stop Reagan from closing even more state-funded mental health hospitals. But Reagan would not be outdone. In 1980, congress proposed new legislation (PL 96-398) called the community mental health systems act (crafted by Ted Kennedy), but the program was killed by newly-elected President Ronald Reagan. This action ended the federal community mental health centers (see timeline on this link) program and its funding.


Read more: http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/ronald-reagan-t...

The first thing wrong with the 'most homeless people are mentally ill' meme is, as you point out, it's not true.

The second thing wrong is that the proper response to those who are is to obtain help for them, not dismiss them as less than human.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #29
37. Thank you for those sources! I was one of the lucky ones living in California under
Gov. King Ronnie, and we were dumbfounded that people actually wanted this clown for president!

Obviously I agree with you totally about the decent care for those who need it.

My problem with the wrong information is that, just on the basis of rumor, cops have the powr to lock up ANYONE, and once locked up, there is NO legal remedy. This is happening a lot, and it is very scary.

One of these days I am goingn to have to try to find that stuff about the 50s thing. I really want to know the whole progression.

Just think... there is a whole generation now who has grown up taking a h0omelesseness epidemic for granted, and doesn't know the true background of it.

Thanks! :hug:
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #29
48. Thanks to the efforts of you...
bobbolink, and ThomCat (I have forgotten a couple others) some more of our members may become more enlightened.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #29
89. This is far enough off the topic that I hesitate to post, but it is important information if we are
to understand what was happening.

I found many sources, with a lot of words but this from wikipedia pretty much sums it up:
Deinstitutionalisation is the process of replacing long-stay psychiatric hospitals with less isolated community mental health services for those diagnosed with mental disorder or developmental disability. Deinstitutionalisation can have two definitions. The first definition focuses on reducing the population size of mental institutions. This can be accomplished by releasing individuals from institutions, shortening the length of stays, and reducing both admissions and readmission.<1> The second definition refers to removing institutional processes from mental hospitals that may create dependency, hopelessness, learned helplessness, and other maladaptive behaviors.<1>

In many cases, the mass deinstitutionalisation of the mentally ill in the Western world from the 1960s onwards has translated into policies of "community release". Individuals who previously would have been in mental institutions are no longer supervised by health care workers. Many are left to their own devices in regards to maintaining their personal medication regimens.

The movement for deinstitutionalization came to the fore in various countries in the 1950s and 1960s.

Obviously, I will absolutely not defend Rayguns, but this is a process that was begun before him. Those institutions NEEDED to be closed! Many, if not most, were ratholes that were horrible for human beings.

What you posted about him closing the community mental health centers is absolutely pivotal! That was what deinstitutionalization was supposed to be based on, and the fact that he closed off those avenues created a big mess. Couple that with the cutting of low-income housing, and there was the beginning of an epidemic.

I stress this not to argue, but to clarify that closing those institutions was the right thing at the time, for many humanitarian reasons. Closing the alternatives was NOT the right thing! And, the other reason I stress this is because, since it happened at the same time that low-income housing was cut it has created tremendous confusion in the American public, which is a painful detriment to homeless people.

There is no doubt... the stigma about "mental illness" must be erased, AND conflating homelessness with "mental illness" must be erased.

As far as mentall illness itself is concerned, I find the book "Towards Psychologies Of Liberation" to be the most coherent source on the topic!

Thanks so much for this, laughingliberal! I actually got some other really good information in the process of searching for this! :hug: :loveya:



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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #20
36. +1
Very well said

Whenever we start a phrase with, "Most homeless people..." we need to stop.

:applause:
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #20
47. Too bad most Americans...
cannot remember what happened 6 months ago, and are too lazy to look up the facts for themselves. Hell, I was only 12 when Rayguns did that, but I remember.
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TheKentuckian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #12
69. They are full of it. If most of the homeless were mentally ill then our national shame is greater
What kind of logic is we have millions of mentally ill folks so we safely and humanely store them in the streets.

Of course the argument is false but making it just makes matters worse.

I think the lame and disgusting case is an effort to dehumanize, essentially "they are fucked up and so they don't matter".

God forbid this man be seen as equal in value to ourselves, our brothers, fathers, uncles, nephews, sons, or friends because allowing that connection would mean taking responsibility for the people we throw away and destroy for the profit of a few.
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #69
72. +1000 nt
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
64. The officer should never have stopped him in the first place.


The code states "a dangerous knife means any fixed-blade knife and any other knife having a blade more than three and one-half inches (3 1/2") in length," though there are exceptions.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/426004_police01.html



And the asinine reasoning for stopping him.




Birk, on patrol from West Precinct, was driving south on Boren Avenue. At Howell Avenue, Birk stopped at a red light and saw Williams crossing with a board westbound in a crosswalk.

The officer could see Williams had a knife and was doing something to the board. "What he was doing we're not quite sure," Metz said. "But he was definitely doing something with this knife.

"The officer thought that it was important for him to find out what was going on and why this person would have an open-bladed knife out in public."




Does it take a rocket scientist to figure out what some people do with a knife and a piece of wood or that homeless people live in public?

Thanks for the thread, Hannah Bell.


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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #64
78. The cop had every right to approach Williams.
Knives are legal. So are guns. But if someone is carrying a weapon openly, that's ALL a cop needs to investigate. He could have been carrying nunchuks...Chinese stars. The cop still had a right to approach Williams.

Further, a police officer can, with reasonable suspicion, stop and briefly detain someone suspected of having a knife larger than 31/2 inches....and in this case, the cop would have been perfectly within his rights to stop Mr. Williams, and check that his knife was within the law.


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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #78
82. What is the definition of a weapon?
The officer stated he saw the man doing something to a board with a small knife, (3 inches) this wasn't a Bowie Knife and the mere use of carving wood should give a clue, this was about whittling.

This knife wasn't being used as a weapon, per the officer's statement, it was a tool.



Birk, on patrol from West Precinct, was driving south on Boren Avenue. At Howell Avenue, Birk stopped at a red light and saw Williams crossing with a board westbound in a crosswalk.

The officer could see Williams had a knife and was doing something to the board. "What he was doing we're not quite sure," Metz said. "But he was definitely doing something with this knife.

"The officer thought that it was important for him to find out what was going on and why this person would have an open-bladed knife out in public."



How dense do you have to be, not to recognize someone carving wood?



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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #78
86. BULLSHIT.
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slampoet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #78
126. So it other words every family picknick is open to a police shakedown by your definition.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #126
133. Actually, you have a point.
Edited on Fri Sep-10-10 10:40 PM by msanthrope
The police are allowed everywhere the public is.

I tell clients this all the time.

If a member of the public is allowed to come up your family picnic and question you, then a cop is.

ETA....if you are drunk, or 'acting the fool' in public, a cop may approach and ask you any question anybody else would.
What is the lesson you draw from that?
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-11-10 01:50 AM
Response to Reply #133
139. Will you get shot for possessing a 3" paring knife at a family picnic?
Seattle police had seven incidents in seven days. Six of those were fatal to the other party involved.

We were told that tasers would stop the shootings. Evidently, they're not.

The cop in question didn't take the time to ascertain what was happening with the guy holding a whittling knife and a piece of wood. Why don't you time thirty seconds and see how quickly it passes, for instance?
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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:06 PM
Response to Original message
84. Some of the responses to this incident shown above are disgusting.
I don't care how much you worship at the Big Daddy altar of authoritarianism, nothing can justify this shooting.

3" blade, 20 feet away from the cop, whittling =/= a death sentence
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slampoet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #84
125. Deaf people get treated like shit all the time and people like HiFructosePronSyrup are the reason
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #125
136. Why was I not named? I feel left out. n/t
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-11-10 01:47 AM
Response to Reply #125
138. Alert. Please alert. n/t
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
121. ACLU's letter
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/09/08/ac...

September 7, 2010
Mayor Mike McGinn
Chief of Police John Diaz
Members of the Seattle City Council

Re: An Open Letter calling for a change in the mindset and training of the SPD

Dear leaders of the City of Seattle:

The tragic killing by a Seattle police officer of a Native American wood carver as he walked through his neighborhood is part of a string of disturbing incidents in which police officers used force in questonable circumstances.

The pattern of violence must stop. Seattles leaders must step up to create some basic changesa new set of approaches, expectations, and daily practices in the Seattle Police Department. Change is imperative to encourage improved decision-making by officers, more trust from community members, and safer communities for all Seattleites.

In a democracy, police officers are delegated great powers by the people they serve to enforce our laws. With that power comes great responsibilityincluding the responsibility to use force only when clearly necessary.

Too often, officers have overreacted or escalated incidents when the subject is an individual of color, disabled, homeless or, otherwise different. We fear that the drive for so-called civility laws has created a mindset that our streets need to be rid of undesirable people. It sends a message to officers that some people are suspect because of their appearance and manner and should be removed from public view to make others feel safer.

This mindset must change. Partly it is a matter of training. Officers must be trained to understand that appearing different doesnt automatically make a person a safety risk. Officers must assess safety threats based on objective facts rather than outward appearance. And officers must learn and use effective de-escalation techniques to diffuse tense situations without resorting to force.

Both the basic training provided by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and the training provided specifically to Seattle police recruits must be reevaluated to ensure that officers learn the skills needed to protect all of the people of Seattle.

But for good training to be effective, it must be continuously reinforced. From the Chief of Police to the sergeants on the street, the message must be clear that that officers are sworn to fight crime, not people.

Mr. Williams was a brother, a son, a friend to many, a talented artist, and a valued human beingfar more than just a homeless man. The police officer is also a valued human beingand one given the difficult and dangerous responsibility of judging when to use deadly force to keep us all safe.

The Seattle Police Department needs the leadership, de-escalation training, and cross-cultural skills that will help minimize the chances of fatal street encounters. A change in approach will improve public safety for all in our community and make the police department more effective in carrying out its important mission.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Taylor
Executive Director
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
127. worthy of a kick...
thanks HB, very sad that some here just don't seem to get it.
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