Hundreds Take To Seattle Streets
POSTED: Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 10:54am
UPDATED: Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 10:57am
Protesters demand charges against police officer who shot local woodcarver.
Protesters marched through downtown Seattle Wednesday, frustrated over the decision to not charge a Seattle police officer with a crime over a fatal shooting.
The demonstration, which spread from downtown to Capitol Hill, was reaction to a decision by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg not to charge Officer Ian Birk for the shooting death of John. T. Williams last August.
"I understand that policing is a tough job. I couldn't, wouldn't want to do it, but there has to be a limit where you can't just go around shooting people within four seconds," said one protester.
"I don't think it was right what they did to John T." said one woman. "He was an innocent man."
At first, a group of about 65 protesters formed at Westlake Center, but another group joined them, marching from Capitol Hill.
The combined group of more than 200 people then marched from Westlake Center to Boren Avenue and Howell Street, where Williams was shot.
The protesters marched in the middle of downtown streets, mixing with rush hour traffic.
When they reached Boren and Howell, dozens of people laid down in the road.
Protesters were met by a line of police in riot gear.
The crowd shouted at officers, but there was little physical contact.
Several blocks away at another police line, one protester could be seen attempting to go through the line of officers.
The man was pushed back several times, but he continued to make contact with officers.
Some businesses took care to guard their doors as the protesters marched by, while others cheered on the demonstration.
The number of protesters began to dwindle after 8 p.m.
Although Birk was not charged, a Seattle Police Department review board said the shooting was not justified.
Birk resigned from the department at 4 p.m. Wednesday.