Seattle officer involved in fatal shooting worries he won't get a fair inquest



Posted on November 16, 2010 at 9:28 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 16 at 10:28 PM

SEATTLE - The Seattle Police officer at the center of controversial officer-involved-shooting is worried he will not get a fair inquest.

An attorney for Officer Ian Birk says Birk is concerned about all the media attention and newly released dash cam video images taken during the shooting.

The video images are among court documents filed in relation to the Aug. 30 shooting of John T. Williams, the 50-year-old Native American wood carver who was intoxicated when he was spotted and stopped by Officer Birk.

The documents were filed Monday by Tim Ford, a lawyer representing the Williams family in an upcoming inquest.

"(Williams) was crossing the street like any other citizen and the officer got out of his vehicle and immediately pulled his gun," said Ford.

In court documents, Ford says the sound on the police car video shows that Birk fired the fatal shots four seconds after ordering Williams to drop a knife.

"Four seconds from the first thing he says, 'put down the knife,' until he shoots. Four seconds," said Ford.

"A suspect armed with an edged weapon in very close promimity, especially who has refused to drop the weapon, is an immediate risk to the officer," said Ted Buck, Birk's attorney. "That suspect can be on top of them, potentially killing them, in less than a second."

Buck, says the new materials don't tell the whole story of the shooting.

"(Birk's) worried about jury pollution because of all the media attention about the shooting death," said Buck. "And, especially (about) the pictures that were released today, taken just seconds before the shooting."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.