The John Williams Shooting Inquest: Day Two

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee January 13, 2011


Seattle police Officer Ian Birk was grilled Wednesday about his fatal encounter with woodcarver John T. Williams, as an attorney for the Williams family sought to show Birk was fabricating or embellishing his story.

On the third day of an inquest hearing, attorney Tim Ford immediately challenged Birk, asking how many times he had practiced his testimony about the Aug. 30 shooting, and whether he had been professionally coached.

King County District Judge Arthur Chapman declined to allow Birk to answer, agreeing with Birk's attorney that the questions were irrelevant.

Ford followed with a blistering examination, seeking to elicit inconsistencies from Birk before an eight-member jury that will reach findings that could shed light on whether the officer acted properly.

The questioning stood in stark contrast to Tuesday's session, when the 27-year-old officer testified under questioning from his attorney and a King County prosecutor that he feared Williams was going to attack him.

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