SEATTLE - It's been three years since a Seattle police officer shot and killed a woodcarver, and Friday there was only a small demonstration marking the death of John T. Williams.
Williams was killed by Officer Ian Birk on Aug. 30, 2010. The woodcarver was holding a small knife, but the shooting was found to be unjustified, and Birk quit the force.
Friday, a small group gathered at the totem pole carved in Williams’s honor that stands at Seattle Center
They were led by his brother Rick.
“I hear it in my head, 'hey, hey, hey drop the knife.' Bang bang bang,” said Rick Williams, of the videotape that depicts his brother’s death. “There is no medicine they can give me for that.”
The tragic event resulted in reforms at the Seattle Police Department that are still being implemented. And it led to the imposition of a federal monitor.
Only about a dozen people were at Friday’s memorial, but Williams wasn’t discouraged.
“I was honored by what little came here. At least they loved my brother enough to be here,” said Williams.