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March marks 10-year anniversary of John T. Williams police killing in Seattle — UPDATE

Activists and loved ones Sunday held a vigil and marched across Seattle to mark the 10-year anniversary of the police killing of John T. Williams, a Native woodcarver and Capitol Hill regular gunned down by a Seattle Police officer at Boren and Howell.

Anti-police violence protests and marches grew in the wake of the August 2010 killing including the growth of “black bloc” marches on Capitol Hill. Officer Ian Birk was never charged but the shooting put SPD under deeper federal scrutiny. The city’s police force was put under federal consent decree after an eight-month investigation found evidence of excessive force and biased policing.

Williams would go on to become a symbol of the toll of police violence in the city and on Capitol Hill. The Seattle Met looked at his legacy and the aftermath of his killing here.

Sunday’s march passed through streets around the city and near Capitol Hill. Demonstrators reported two drivers who sped through the procession in separate incidents. There were no reported arrests.

Protests and marches against police have continued.

Monday night, a small group of a few dozen gathered in Cal Anderson Park and then marched onto Broadway but there were no reported clashes with police. The relatively quiet night followed a weekend without major protester-police conflict after last Wednesday night’s melees on 15th Ave E and outside the Washington State Patrol office above I-5 north of Capitol Hill. A small flurry of federal arrests and charges have followed recent incidents. Meanwhile, the East Precinct has installed a cement block wall topped by a chain-link fence at 12th and Pine. The new fortification has yet to be tested.

Activists have posted planned gatherings at Cal Anderson nightly in coming days and say there are plans for a Labor Day demonstration at the location of the Seattle Police Officers Guild union offices in SoDo.
Meanwhile, the occupation in Cal Anderson has grown with activists, protesters, and campers filling the area near the Shelterhouse and CHOP gardens. Organizers say they hope to use the Seattle Parks facility to provide resources and services to the area’s homeless community. CHS reported on the Shelterhouse occupation and an SPD sweep of the facility here.

UPDATE 10:00 AM: Police and a city crew are sweeping Cal Anderson’s camp again Tuesday morning.


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