SEATTLE - The eight jurors assigned to the inquest into the shooting death of Canadian First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams by Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk will begin deliberations Wednesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Williams' older brother testified that the brothers were trained by their father to close their knives when they talked to people. Rick Williams demonstrated for an inquest jury how John T. Williams would have secured his knife by pressing the blade against a piece of wood to collapse the blade when he was addressed.
Williams was shot and killed by Seattle Police Office Ian Birk on Aug. 30 at the intersection of Boren and Howell in downtown Seattle. The King County Executive ordered an inquest into the shooting and that fact finding hearing is now underway.
Officer Birk's attorney raised questions about how much Rick Williams knew about his brother's behavior in the months before the shooting because Rick was out of town for the summer and hadn't seen his brother until either the morning of the shooting or the day before.
"Are you aware that he (John T.) was increasingly psychotic in his behavior?" he asked.
Ted Buck suggested that John T. Williams had become combative with police officers in the weeks before the shooting and even threatened an officer.
The case is expected to go to a jury late today or early tomorrow. The jurors are being asked to answer questions that will shed light on whether the fatal use of force was justified.