For immediate release August 25, 2011
Cindi Beech LaMar,
Ndns for Justice Chair/Spokesperson
or e-mail at email@example.com
One Year Later…
As the first anniversary approaches of the shooting death of the late John T. Williams on August 30, 2010, by Seattle police officer, Ian Birk, Ndns for Justice has concluded the following:
The police shooting death of the late John T. Williams was an attack on all American Indians/Alaska Natives residing in the Greater Seattle Area;
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) Firearms Review Board conclusion that the officer’s use of deadly force on the late John T. Williams was unjustified and a Review Board Spokesperson stated that it was one of the most egregious failings he has ever noted;
The SPD’s Native American Advisory Council meetings have been frustrating and non-productive;
The SPD has not made any real or substantial lasting institutional changes in the last year in the way they deal with people of color including Seattle’s Urban Indians since the shooting death.
For these reasons, Ndns for Justice concludes that steps towards any real or substantial changes have not been taken since the police shooting death of John T. Williams.
Ndns for Justice asks the City of Seattle/Mayor’s Office and Seattle Police Department to join with us in a collaborative process to work diligently with Urban Indians, to include Seattle’s Indian Organizations that are truly representative in the Greater Seattle Area, on a comprehensive plan to take these real and substantial steps which we understand will take time.
Seattle’s Urban Indian community does not have access to the same Restorative Justice as was afforded the Latino community. Shandy Cobane was mandated to learn about and acquire sensitivity to the Latino community and educate the SPD about that population. Ndns for Justice applauds this action in solidarity and support of the Latino community, and seeks similar accommodation.
The patterns and practices of the use of excessive force and discrimination against people of color, including the unjustified shooting death of John T. Williams continues to be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Ndns for Justice and the Indian Bar Associations in Washington continue to seek support through Tribal Resolutions from Washington Tribes and the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation to request the DOJ undertake its
investigation in a thorough and evenhanded manner, not to be influenced by the subjects of the investigation.
The Tribal Resolutions also request that the City of Seattle take immediate real and substantial steps that include: a review of the Seattle Police Department’s hiring processes, more aggressive recruitment of Natives and other minority candidates, training regarding the history and culture of the Seattle Urban Indian population, instituting effective procedures for holding officers accountable who use excessive force or violate civil rights and review of the format and practices related to the ethnic councils so that they better serve the communities they claim to represent.
This press release has been endorsed by: American Friends Service Committee, Mothers for Police Accountability, United Indians of All Tribes
Foundation and WSBA Indian Law Section.