Inquest Ordered In John Williams Shooting

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee October 12, 2010

King County exec Dow Constantine has ordered an inquest into the shooting of John T. Williams, who was killed by Seattle police officer Ian Birk in August.

For those of you calling for Officer Birk's head, don't get too excited. This isn't out of the ordinary when it comes to controversial police shootings, and I don't think any officer has faced prosecution as the result of an inquest.

Anyways, here's the release, via KIRO:

King County Executive Dow Constantine today ordered an inquest into the shooting death of John T. Williams by a Seattle police officer on August 30, 2010.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recommended the inquest after his office reviewed investigative materials from the Seattle Police Department.

Inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury. They are routinely called to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of any law enforcement agency within King County while in the performance of his or her duties.

Inquests provide transparency into law enforcement actions so the public may have all the facts in a case established in a court of law. The ordering of an inquest should carry no other implication.

The order signed by the Executive requests King County District Court Presiding Judge Barbara Linde to assign a judge to conduct the inquest.

The ordering of inquests is a function vested in the county executive under the King County Code.

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