Officer who fatally shot Native woodcarver resigns from force

The Seattle, Washington, police officer who fatally shot John T. Williams, a traditional woodcarver, resigned from the force on Wednesday.

Ian Birk had been on paid leave since the August 30, 2010, incident. His decision came after the police department's Firearms Review Board determined that the shooting of Williams, who was a member of the Dididaht First Nation of British Columbia, was unjustified.

"John T. Williams did not pose a threat of serious harm to the officers or others," Chief John Diaz said at a news conference, The Seattle Times reported.

The announcement came after King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said he would not charge Birk with a crime. He said there wasn't evidence that Birk shot Williams with malice or criminal intent.

"He still killed my brother. He basically got away with murder," Rita Williams, John T. Williams' sister, told The Seattle Times.

Despite Birk's resignation, the Seattle police will continue its investigation of the incident. That could lead to Birk's decertification, preventing him from being employed as a law enforcement officer in Washington.

Get the Story:
Officer Birk quits after SPD rebuke (The Seattle Times 2/17)
Birk resigns from Seattle Police Department (The Seattle Times 2/16)
Police shooting: Day of anger, emotion and surprise (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 2/17)

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