Friday, February 04, 2011

"Seattle police meeting draws tense, angry crowd"

Audience members cheer after a statement was made during a panel discussion on police accountability at Seattle City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011.

Casey McNerthney (
The meeting Thursday night at City Hall was intended to de-escalate a tense situation regarding police accountability, but in less than an hour the dialogue broke down.

Two men had already been removed from the overflow meeting after launching expletive-laced tirades at Police Chief John Diaz. Next to the panel of eight speakers was displayed a poster calling for officer Ian Birk, who fatally shot John T. Williams last August, to be jailed.

Then people dressed in black, including some who distributed anarchist material before the meeting, marched inside, chanting "cops, pigs, murder, murder."

Rick Williams, the brother of the Native American carver, went outside the meeting room, grabbed two of them and insisted they leave. Back inside, Williams overturned the sign calling Birk a murderer.

"That's how you de-escalate," one woman said.

Seattle police have been criticized for several recent high-profile incidents, some of which were recorded. MORE...

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