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No charges for officer who shot Island carver

Jan 14 2012

SEATTLE — U.S. federal prosecutors will not charge former Seattle police officer Ian Birk in the 2010 shooting death of Vancouver Island First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI have concluded that there isn't enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Birk acted willfully and with the intent to violate Williams' civil rights when he shot and killed him on a downtown Seattle sidewalk.

The federal Department of Justice reviewed the shooting after the county prosecutor said Birk couldn't be charged because there was no proof he acted with malice.

Williams, who was hard of hearing, did not respond to Birk's repeated demands that he drop a knife he was carrying. He was shot four times.

The shooting resulted in public outrage. A separate investigation found Seattle police has a "pattern and practice" of using illegal, excessive force.

Birk resigned from the department. The city of Seattle settled with Williams' family for $1.5 million.

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