Shooting Ruled Not Justified: Remixed In Respect

There’s no new information here. I have updated this post to reflect what I learned at tonight’s rally. A spokesman for the family said that, in their culture, once a loved one has died, the family doesn’t speak their name or put up their picture any longer. It has something to do with their journey to the spirit world and making sure it goes properly. He asked that we abide by that. In that vein, I will be updating any posts I have made in my sites (blogs, Twitter, FB, etc) to reflect what I know now.

The big news in Seattle today is that Officer Ian Birk will not be charged for shooting a local Native American woodcarver. Justice was most definately denied, and it seemed to me like nothing more was going to be done. Then I got this notice from the City of Seattle. It’s from Chief Diaz regarding the department’s own internal investigation of this horrible incident.

Chief Diaz sent the following notice to the men and women of the Seattle Police Department and we are sharing it with our various Demographic Advisory Councils:

 I have received word of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO) decision not to file criminal charges against Officer Ian Birk in connection with {this shooting}. From the beginning of this officer-involved shooting, I stated publicly that I had more questions than answers. Following the shooting, I initiated an Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) investigation and they have been monitoring this process over the past several months.  With the decline decision handed down by the KCPAO, this matter is now in my hands.  As Police Chief, I am accountable for the outcome.

 The Firearms Review Board (FRB) has reconvened.  Based upon extensive review of the evidence and witness testimony, they have concluded that the shooting was not justified.  To summarize the analysis conducted by the FRB, it is the FRB’s conclusion that Officer Birk did not follow his training when engaging {our murdered citizen} and that his decision to use deadly force did not conform to Department policy. There is no more sacred duty than the one you carry out every day.  You do so in a way that makes me proud to lead this department.  This event represents an isolated incident with a tragic outcome; tragic for our department and tragic for the family and tragic for Officer Ian Birk and his family. 

I want to thank all of you for the great job you do every day, for the risks you take while protecting the public, and for your continued patience during this difficult time.

 Additional information will be available at: http://www.seattle.gov/police/news/2_16_2011/default.htm

In related news, local residents are planning a rally tonight at 6pm. It will take place at Westlake, located at Fourth and Pine in downtown Seattle. More information can be found at the event’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=194067897284555

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