Families of men killed by Seattle police say it should be easier to prosecute officers
SEATTLE -- The families of two different men who were shot and killed by Seattle police officers were among a crowd gathered at City Hall Tuesday morning demanding changes to a state law to make it easier to prosecute police for improperly using deadly force.
The families of John T. Williams and Che Taylor were among the group that chanted, yelled and demanded answers from Seattle police.
"Everybody is here today to say that John T. Williams and Che Taylor were not isolated exceptions. This is what's happening to our communities and we want to fight back," Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant said during the news conference.
The group supports removing seven words, "without malice and a good faith belief," from the state law pertaining to the deadly use of force by police.
Supporters of Initiative 873, known as the "John T. Williams Bill," hope that by removing this clause from current law it will be easier to bring police officers to court for improper use of deadly force.
"We the people have the opportunity to change this egregious law," said Andre Taylor, whose brother, Che Taylor, was killed by Seattle police earlier this year. "Oh boy, we can do something about 873, the John T. Williams Initiative."
John T. Williams, a first-nations woodcarver, was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer in August 2010.
The department ruled that Officer Ian Birk was not justified in the shooting - King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg declined to file criminal charges, in part because of how the current law is written.
Rick Williams, who is John T. Williams' brother, said during the news conference Wednesday "people want to hear the truth. You understand that?"
Che Taylor, 46, was shot and killed in the Wedgwood neighborhood, in North Seattle, on Feb. 21. Two officers were placed on administrative leave after the shooting.
On Wednesday, police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said the department has completed its investigation into the shooting. Whitcomb declined to discuss the results of the investigation.
"What we say is not this time. We're not going to go away," said Devitta Briscoe, the slain man's sister. "We want, we ask for these laws to be reformed and we ask for justice for Che Taylor and for all of the families that have been victimized by the police."