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2 video views of the SPD shooting death of a Capitol Hill homeless regular

Under orders from a King County judge, the Seattle Police Department Friday released dashboard camera footage of the August shooting of JT Williams, a regular among the homeless men and women who hang out on Capitol Hill’s streets and sidewalks. Ian Birk, the SPD officer who shot Williams to death, faces a January inquest into his actions.

While shooting occurs off screen in the released footage the audio picked up by the officer microphone reveals an extremely quickly unfolding incident in which Birk first contacts Williams and begins firing in only a matter of seconds. Thanks to the Stranger for posting the just-released footage to YouTube. Their posting on the newly released video is here. The Slog also earlier this week posted a short interview with another Capitol Hill homeless man who knew Williams.

This newly released dashcam footage may not be the only video utilized during the inquest. SPD has already released footage showing interactions between its officers and Wiliams prior to the August shooting. This video posted by the Seattle Times shows the interaction between officers and Williams after police were called to a report of a man staggering in the roadway near Broadway and Pine.

Neither video is conclusive but both leave you wondering if Williams was anything more than an irritation to the officers who dealt with him regularly. Watching them both makes the few seconds it took for Birk to decide to open fire all the more shocking.

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8 thoughts on “2 video views of the SPD shooting death of a Capitol Hill homeless regular” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Why?

    Why not present a figure of authority? For that matter, why exit the vehicle – Why not use your PA first?

    Most critical:
    Why so flippantly casual if you were supposedly scared of his ‘deadly weapon’?

    Finally: Why did this murderer command a $71,132 salary with $2258.27 OT on top of that?

    Camille Marie, you must be so damn proud of your man…

  2. There is no way that anyone can watch this video and not conclude that the officer behaved very poorly, and probably illegally…I can think of at least several ways he might have taken action in a nonaggressive way, and that then Mr. Williams would still be alive today.

    I assume the prosecutors are looking at this incident very carefully. If they do not charge Mr. Birk with a serious crime, it will be a terrible miscarriage of justice.

  3. This is the saddest most out of control thing I have ever seen. This man should be charged with murder and i hope he is. He had a knife, not a gun. Common sense.