Newspaper boxes in downtown Seattle were hijacked this week, The Slog reports, with display copies of The Seattle Times replaced to bear a new lead story, headlined "'We're killing everybody we can,' Seattle police declare." While The Stranger offers little context, the city's police have been involved in a series of controversies, including -- probably most prominently -- the Aug. 30, 2010, killing of a homeless wood carver. Police officer Ian Birk shot well-known carver John Williams after he told Williams three times to drop his whittling knife; Williams was partially deaf.
The newspaper alteration seems linked to that case: Last week the Seattle Police Department found Birk's shooting of Williams "unjustified," and Birk resigned, but he won't be prosecuted for the killing. Williams reportedly was given only four seconds to respond to Birk's command to drop the three-inch carving knife. (The Seattle Post-Intelligencier has video from the officer's car which captures audio of the four-second exchange and five gunshots.)
In December, the ACLU formally requested that the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice "open a pattern or practice investigation into multiple incidents of excessive force by the Seattle Police Department (SPD), particularly force used against persons of color."
Williams was Native American, "a member of the Ditidaht and Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations tribes in British Columbia. "
The newspaper alteration isn't the only creative response to the killing. Seattle street artist No Touching Ground created a mural in the slain man's honor.
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