the inquest is over, the press conferences have come and gone, and despite my earlier predictions, no criminal charges are being filed against officer ian birk in the shooting death of john williams.
i suppose i shouldn’t be surprised. and when i really thought about it, i’m not. pissed off? yeah. surprised? not so much. plus, the reasoning behind the prosecutor’s decision is logical. he had to decide if birk acted with malice and criminal intent, and there the evidence is murky. while he was “troubled” by birk’s actions, birk stuck to his story of williams being a menancing presence and that he felt threatened. and when you don’t waffle, i guess you’d have to have some otherwise rock solid evidence that the officer in question is a complete dick.
if you move to the court of public opinion, birk IS a complete dick and should be charged with something. you can only fall back on the heightened tensions in western washington for so long, and this shooting came almost a year after 6 officers were killed in the line of duty. so to me, that doesn’t count. i feel like that’s just what birk did. he made a mistake, and then repeated his story so many times, he came to believe it himself, a la the self-fulfilling prophecy (ask any sociology major what this is. it’s one of the first things you learn. it’s also pretty much the only thing i remember from any of my classes.)
small consolation that the official firearms board decision was released, and they confirmed their original preliminary decision that the shooting was not justified. i’ll bet a lot of people are hoping he’s fired. i certainly am. this is not a man i want running around in a patrol car, randomly firing on people and claiming he’s protecting the citizens of seattle from evil.
another possibility is a federal criminal civil rights trial, since the whole department is currently under investigation by the feds. i have no idea what that means, but i like the sound of it.
anyway. i get it, prosecutor satterberg. i really do. but maybe you could bring charges against officer birk for being a complete and total ass? better yet, i’ll just recommend it as the next case for matt taibbi’s supreme court of assholedom.