Feds won't prosecute Seattle cop who shot woodcarver

Feds won't prosecute Seattle cop who shot woodcarver

Credit: KING

John T. Williams was shot by a Seattle police officer in August 2010.

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 13 at 3:13 PM

SEATTLE -- Federal prosecutors said Friday that they will not prosecute a Seattle Police Department officer who was involved in the August 30, 2010, fatal shooting of a Native American woodcarver in downtown.

The woodcarver, John T. Williams, was carrying a knife and a piece of wood in Seattle. He was ordered to put the knife down by Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk. Williams did not and he turned toward Birk.  Birk then shot Williams four times, killing him.

Birk, no longer a police officer, was found to have shot Williams without justification, but he was not charged with a crime by King County prosecutors.

A press release from federal prosecutors said the Justice Department "conducted a comprehensive and independent investigation" and "determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the former Seattle Police Officer acted willfully and with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids."

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