Seattle police officer Ian Birk bowed to what appeared to be a certain firing, resigning after department brass released a scathing report of his fatal shooting of woodcarver John Williams, the Seattle Times reports. Mayor Mike McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz had strongly signaled that Birk would be fired in a matter of weeks, despite the announcement by prosecutors that they wouldn’t seek murder or manslaughter charges against the 27-year-old officer.
Williams “did not pose a threat of serious harm to the officers or others,” Diaz said, adding that Birk did not follow training and department policy when he used deadly force. McGinn said the city needs to repair the damage spawned by the shooting and other controversial confrontations between officers and minorities. McGinn said any attempt to change the culture and practices of the Police Department would “take a long time” but that he and Diaz had put in place changes, including reviews of officer training. He said an ongoing review of the department’s practices by the U.S. Department of Justice would give the city some answers and called on police to shift the emphasis from “when we can use force” to “when we should use force.”