Ian Birk
Officer Ian Birk sits in the courtroom January 11, 2011. (KIRO Radio/Alex Silverman)

Officer acts out moments before woodcarver shooting, witnesses testify

By ALEX SILVERMAN
MyNorthwest.com

The Seattle officer who shot and killed a native woodcarver last August was back before an inquest jury Wednesday.

In the courtroom, Officer Ian Birk showed an inquest jury what he saw the moments before he pulled the trigger.

As if he were the homeless wood carver, officer Ian Birk acted out John Williams' movements in the moments before he fired.

Starting with his back to the courtroom, Birk slowly turned to his right, eyes wide, staring at Williams' family attorney Tim Ford, holding a pen in front of him as if it were the knife.

Birk said Williams ignored him when he told him to drop the knife.

Of the knife, closed when he found it next to Williams' body, Birk said, "It did surprise me having just seen Mr. Williams with the knife in his hand."

Ford also asked Birk if had been coached by his attorney prior to testifying. King County District Judge Arthur Chapman did not allow him to answer.

Watch Seattle Times video of Ian Birk in court:

Wednesday afternoon, the first civilian witness to testify, told the jury she didn't see Williams do anything she perceived as threatening.

Another witness testified that he saw Birk fire at someone he couldn't see, and did not sense "any delay at all" between the time the officer got out of his car and the time he fired."

Testimony was expected to resume Thursday morning.


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