From Steve Miletich and Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times staff reporters:
Ending one chapter of a shooting that jolted the Seattle Police Department, the city has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle claims brought by the family of John T. Williams, the First Nations woodcarver killed by a police officer.
The Aug. 30 shooting of Williams, a chronic street inebriate, was found to be unjustified by the Seattle Police Department’s Firearms Review Board and led to the resignation of the officer, Ian Birk, earlier this year.
The agreement, announced Friday by the City Attorney’s Office, followed a confidential mediation in which the city considered claims raised by Williams’ mother and representatives of his estate.
No formal claim or lawsuit was filed by the family, although the family was prepared to file a federal suit.
“This is one step toward justice, but it is only a step,” Rick Williams, a brother of John T. Williams and administrator of his estate, said in a prepared statement. “Nothing can make up for the loss of my brother.”
Williams’ mother, Ida Edward, of Vancouver, B.C., stands to collect the entire settlement. The city and Birk made no admissions of liability under the settlement, which releases both from further civil litigation.
Birk, 28, resigned Feb. 16, hours after the Police Department released the scathing findings of the firearms board, which concluded he acted outside the department’s “policy, tactics and training” when he shot Williams four times at the intersection of Boren Avenue and Howell Street near downtown.
After Birk resigned, Police Chief John Diaz formally fired him for misconduct.
On the day Birk quit, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced he would not bring criminal charges against Birk, who joined the department in 2008.