DOJ: No charges in death of Seattle woodcarver

January 13, 2012 - 6:45 PM

SEATTLE (AP) — The Justice Department says no criminal charges will be filed against a former Seattle police officer who shot and killed a Native American woodcarver in 2010.

John T. Williams had just crossed a street while holding a knife and a block of wood when Officer Ian Birk ordered him to drop the knife and then shot him to death.

Many residents saw it as an unnecessary use of force. It sparked a riot near the intersection where Williams was shot.

Birk resigned and the city paid $1.5 million to the Williams family.

The Justice Department determined city police engaged in a pattern of violating the rights of minorities. But it announced Friday there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer willfully violated Williams' rights.