The Real Truth: John T. Williams
Editor's note: this story is written in response to the murder of indigenous elder John T. Williams by Seattle po'lice officer Ian Birk in Seattle, Washington on Aug. 30, 2010; the go-f-yerself response from Mayor McGinn and the City of Seattle; and the spit-in-your face final payoff of the Williams family. The chapter is NOT closed.
PNN Washington: who are we?
We are a raucous group of Community Keepers, Media Truth Bringers, Vigilant Resisters of Truth-Decapitators and Unravelers of Media Mummies...and we're here to set the record straight.
Two days before he passed away he gave me a couple DOLLARS, HE SAID “I BELIEVE IN HELPIN FOLKS OUT.” Yes those were the last words he spoke to me. He handed me two dollars the last time I saw him.
PNN correspondent, street and museum artist, loyal street vendor and friend of John T. remembers John T. Williams ashe was, transforming ordinary to extraordinary. He was a creator, red sun in the Montana sky, moon rising up from the eastern horizon, the sound of crashing water, brought things to life that appeared dead, resurrection, sound of justice/a cloud of rain. He still rains down on us today and that’s how we know he’s still here/an eagle of art and justice. He carved the silence away from wood to set free stories. His knife brought beautiful things into the world.
The city of Seattle remembers John T. Williams differently. Seattle remembers John as a 1.5 million dollar pay off…silencing families in exchange for a get-away-scot-free, stay-out-of-jail card for murdering one of our own.
You would need 2 John T. Williams to buy one $3 million Victoria Secret diamond bra. They’re sayin we’re not even worth the cost of the fabric it takes to hold up one rich, food deprived Barbie wanna be’s silicone tits.
The cost of a Superbowl commercial is 2.5 million dollars, so the life of one of our own isn’t even worth 10 seconds of tv time. Time and money that apparently is better spent entertaining burger and beer pounding meatheads watching steroid pumped bodies on their giant flat screen tvs with surround sound as they order their wives around for more bean dip.
We would have to hand over three of our own just to purchase one Andy Warhol’s paintings of Elizabeth Taylor, sold for 25.5 million dollars, better described as the fuck stain from a Studio 54 party that he gizzed onto a canvas after snorting some coke than something worth the entire lives works of 3 of our own artists.
John T. was a famous artist. If someone had killed Warhol could they have paid off the murderers for 1.5 million dollars and, him a “chronic street inebriate” in the media, and “close the chapter” on his whole life just to let the murderer off the hook? Nope. But this is the shit that we have to swallow.
And swallowing this settlement is like being force fed a milkshake sip sip, drinking roadkill, maggot infested rotten meat chug chug, vomit feces urine slurp slurp, blood clots, snot, glug glug, tapeworm, stank fish gag, gag. With barely a shot of hot sauce to cover up the taste suck suck!!
This is why WE ARE ON FIRE!!!!
How we see it they got two separate court systems going, one for the people and once for the police. In the realPeople’s Court of Gotcha when you kill someone on the job the least of your worries is getting fired, but you know you’re going to court no matter what. In the Police Piggy Court of Oink you get paid leave for killing someone on the job. That’s like a free paid vacation to their favorite mud hole, a prize for striking us down like we’re another person like we’re just another line of carnival cans that’s what Ian Birk got. In fact they even get to keep their guns, that’s like letting Jim Jones keep his killa Kool-Aid.
In the People’s Court of Gotcha where we get tried, it’s like happiness getting tried by the blues. It’s like panthers getting tried by the KKK, its like Hatfield getting tried by McCoy, but in the Police Piggy Court of Oink you can claim self defense if you get scared by the look of a poor elderly man’s eyes then you don’t even have to go to court. You get an internal investigation; you get to stick your dick in your own asshole, that’s what Ian Birk got.
In the People’s Court of Gotcha when you're found guilty you go to prison. You can’t vote, get a job, sometimes you can’t even get out or get out alive. In the Piggy Police Court of Oink when youre found guilty you get to resign in your own damn time. Letting Ian Birk resign is like William Calley getting an honorable discharge after the Mi Lei Massacre in Vietnam, it’s like a Catholic Pedophile Priest getting relocated to another orphanage, it was like Hans Mehserle getting off for killing Oscar Grant. This is worse than a pathetic excuse for “justice.”
It’s like an over ripe, runny, slimy, fudgy, gooey diaper bitin’ on a “guilty until proven innocent” baby’s bottom…and it needs to be changed fast…
…unless you like walking around in your own shit, which Seattle seems pretty comfortable with.
At least Mayor McGinn is honest about it, when he says, “This is the least we could do for the Williams family, to restore peace.” So far the City of Seattle has let Ian Birk keep his job, gun, badges and freedom. They have allowed him to resign on his own terms; they have failed to prosecute him. They have supported an Internal Investigation that has allowed him to avoid prosecution. They have now broadcasted to the whole Seattle Police Department and the community at large that it is ok for a cop to kill us. And that our lives is $1.5 million if they decide they want to take it. But at least there will be a John T Williams day of remembrance. Yep, that is really the least they could do.
What they should have done was immediately suspended or fired Officer Ian Birk. No pay, no severance package. No special treatment. His gun and badge should have been taken immediately. An external review board of the people and John’s peers should have been in charge of examining the case. Upon the decision that Ian Birk murdered John T. for no reason, Ian Birk should have immediately been arrested and put on charges in state court.
What they did was assume that John T was guilty and that Birk was innocent. They engaged in an internal review that is clearly set up to protect the police and not the people. They refused to punish Officer Birk in any way for the MURDER of an elder crossing the street. They allowed Birk and other officers to hide behind a self defense claim that triggers a Washington law that prevents the prosecution of police officers if they claim self-defense. Even if they are defending themselves from the back of a hearing impaired elderly man while he commits the crime of crossing the street while indigenous and poor. Then they allowed his to retire in his own due time and escape any punishment whatsoever for murder.
The Piggy Police Court of Oink is definitely working as planned.
PNN Washington is calling for the removal of the laws that protect police officers from prosecution for crimes against the community. We are calling for an oversight committee with the power to enforce punishments on the police officers…such as demanding the immediate firing and arrest of officers that kill community members. We call for a new protocol demanding the immediate removal of pay, gun an badge of any officer that kills a community member. The community should not be proven guilty while the officer’s innocence is protected! We demand that all police officers that kill community members be prosecuted in the real court…not the Piggy Police Court of Oink!!
If Birk was allowed to claim self defense because John T. didn’t turn around right away and had a menacing look in his eyes, then the po’lice have the green light to kill anyone with a hearing impairment, or anyone living with a disability, or anyone that looks at them sideways or…well…just fucking anyone they want. For whatever reason they feel like. Or for no reason at all.
So PNN Washington further demands that dramatic changes be made in the training and protocol of the Seattle Police Department We demand that there be clear guidelines for the use of force and that these guidelines be approved by the community. We demand that whenever force is used by an officer, a report be filed and made public along with the names and locations of the incidences. No cover-ups should be allowed. We demand that officers be trained to support and protect community members living in poverty, living with disabilities and mental health labels so that they don’t go around killing folks for not looking the way the police thing we should. We demand that the police stop being allowed to claim they have a “tough job” and that the media stop promoting this idea. Lots of us have “tough jobs”protecting people in the community. And most of us aren’t armed with bulletproof vests, guns, tasers, the media, Mayor McGinn and the city budget of Seattle. But many of us should be armed against them.
John T wasn’t armed with anything. He was a small, gentle man. A hearing impaired elder. A loving friend and needed elder. He was crossing the street with a piece of wood. His carving knife was closed. He was not threatening anyone. Not Ian Birk. Not anyone else. And the video showed that.
So what in the hell is going on in Seattle?? Why does Seattle have a protocol in place to protect murderous police officers while at the same time it endangers the lives of Seattle citizens like John T?
John T. Williams was a rising eagle shot down out of the sky mid flight. He was a cherished man whose knife was a tool of love, not a weapon of destruction. He was an artist whose totems revealed legends. He was a friend who gave the little he had to those around him. He still soars above us with eagle’s wings. He still warms us on sun’s rays. He still speaks to us in wind’s breath. And so in spite of Seattle, he lives…and we will remember him. And we will continue the struggle for justice….real justice….in his real memory.