The knife that John T. Williams was carrying when he was fatally shot by a Seattle police officer on Aug. 30 was folded in a closed position when it was recovered minutes after the shooting, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
The knife’s condition, combined with evidence that Williams was shot in the side, played a role in a preliminary determination by the Police Department’s Firearms Review Board and Chief John Diaz that the shooting was not justified, said one law-enforcement source.
The three-inch blade was found closed when another officer picked up the knife, which is documented in evidentiary photographs taken at the scene, the sources said.
Tests were to be conducted to determine whether it’s possible the knife might have closed when it hit the ground, sources said. However, a local knife maker said that would be “almost impossible.”
What does this mean? Nothing good for Officer Birk.
The story SPD has given thus far is that Officer Ian Birk stopped Williams because he saw spotted him cutting a block of wood as he walked down the street.
Police say Williams was captured on tape crossing in front of the patrol car, but haven’t said whether Williams’ knife is visible on camera.
I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. We’ve heard that an inquest hearing has been scheduled for later this month.