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 his shooting of John T. Williams.
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 John T. Williams 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 of John T. Williams 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:
GSBA also received the following statement from Chief Diaz about Ian Birk's resignation from the Seattle Police Department:
February 16, 2011
Officer Ian Birk has communicated to me his intent to resign his commission
with the Seattle Police Department.
His resignation will take place effectively at 4 p.m. today.
At my direction, the Office of Professional Accountability investigation
will continue forward. The completion of this investigation is not
contingent on Ian Birk remaining on the force. Reaching our own
administrative conclusion is a necessary step to providing a small degree of
closure to the many people affected by this tragedy over the past several
If the Office of Professional Accountability presents me with a
recommendation for discipline, it will be kept on file per department
protocol and presented to the Washington State Criminal Justice Training