Being Deaf is Deadly???

Heye all

as we approach the new year – i hope one of our united efforts will be to make sure no one else is shot down on a city street simply for not heeding an officer’s call because…. s/he could not hear it.

John T. Williams, a Native American Deaf wooden carver, was killed by a policeman on August 30, 2010 in Seattle Washington in the United States of America.

His crime?  Unknown, unclear, unanything because he committed none at all

Known? He was a Native American

Known? He was a person of the street

Known? He was poor

Known? He was an artist

Known… to folks who loved and knew him? He was Deaf

Unknown to the officer who shot him? He was DEAF

What did the officer know about John T. Williams except for that which he saw with his eyes – you can see it too at this youtube video of the police cam.  (note: no captions) The shooting takes place off camera but the audio is recorded.  What we can see is John T. Williams crossing a street holding on to some things as he walks.

The officer pulls up the car.  Stops it – exits and marches after John calling out “hey,

[They are off camera now but we can assume that John has not turned around or stopped because…


hey, hey.  Put the knife down.  PUT THE KNIFE DOWN.  Put the knife DOWN.”  pop, pop, pop, pop.

John is DEAFD

Within 24 7 sec John T. Williams is no more (added 4/29/2011 – 24 sec from when he begins to cross the street but only 7 secs from the time the cop called out to him to put down the knife to when he started shooting- 7 sec)

What about using a taser, what about shooting at his foot, what about wrestling him to the ground – the knife was small the man was old, what about running to be in front of him and putting ur hands out, what about pulling ur police car in front of him so he can SEE what is going on and know this is serious.

The police department’s Firearms Review Board made a preliminary finding that the shooting wasn’t justified. But the decision whether to charge the officer with a crime will be up to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg after the inquest in January. (from Real Change, Dec 22, 2010, Vol 17 No 35)

Since the shooting takes place off camera we dont know if John T. Williams was ever even aware that anyone was behind him, that someone with a GUN was behind him.

We dont have any knowledge that he knew he was just about to be gunned down.

Later when a slew of cops arrive on bikes, in squad cars etc the shooter says that he called out to the man repeatedly to drop the knife and he didn’t.

He makes no mention of the man turning around, the man gesturing, the man lunging out at him, the man charging at him, the man knowing that he was even behind him.

This may be one of the worst cases of accidental audism – this cop may have simply been operating on the assumption that EVERYBODY hears.

But they dont.

And they shouldn’t be shot down because they don’t.

And even if he was hearing (which he wasnt) and he refused to turn around and drop the wood carving knife – should he really have been shot several times – KILLED in the middle of a beautiful day.

Police officers are supposed to be Peace officers.

I know some times they cant be – i know sometimes they have to use excessive force and i know that we dont SEE what took place via this video but from what we do know – those of us who have not responded when we have been called cuz we didnt hear we was being called – we know it invites anger, mistrust, misunderstanding, frustration, rejection, inspection, and more from those who dont know and understand

so what’s the plan?

This is not the first police shooting of a Deaf man on a noon day street.  There have been more before and they are often Deaf folks of color.

Not cool

So what’s the plan?

The Island First Nation people have called for a thorough investigation.  A petition was out.  Audism Free America joined its support with the Native American community in protesting this death.

Where are the Deaf folks of Seattle?

John was our brother.

I totally feel this.  Not just because he was an artist, not just because he was a Native American man, not just because he was Deaf but because he was a human and he is no more on this plane.

And that is WRONG folks


It appears that what the cop didnt know about John and didnt see about John is that he was DEAF

and that is no reason to be DEAD

What will each of US do individually and collectively to make sure being Deaf is not Deadly?

Here’s wishing each and every one of us a better new year.  And a year where each of us works to ensure that its a better year for our brothers and sisters and not just ourselves because…

our humanity is interconnected – it truly is.  My heart goes out to the family of John T. Williams, to the officer who did the shooting and his family also.

Much love and peace,


American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington letter to the US Dept of Justice Civil Rights Division (December 3, 2010) request to Investigate Pattern or Practice of Misconduct by Seattle Police Department

several links about this case – some videos are not captioned (feel free to add more links in the comments box – especially if u find captioned versions of the videos)

cop cam – see John T. Williams cross street and cop pursue

ASL video with captions

Deaf man – spoken English with subtitles

spoken spanish news report

news program – Native Americans solidarity and activism (no captions)

Rally in John T Williams Memory Part I and II

video with pictures of John T Williams, Native American community’s reaction /response, and totem poles (text box has article and lyrics to song)



29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dianrez
    Dec 24, 2010 @ 18:39:44

    Hopefully that woman who was crossing as the shooting happened will be testifying at the inquest and we can find out exactly what she saw, i.e. if Williams indeed made any moves that were seen as threatening.

    It seems that wasn’t the case, but for an officer (note: hand is off his gun) to approach a fellow who was obviously preoccupied with his work and then off-camera instantly shoot is incomprehensible. One is left guessing at what point the officer decided to draw. A later news report says the pocket knife was found closed at the site.

    It makes me wonder exactly what is the caliber of men we are hiring as police and what training they are given.

    Deaf people in public can be seen as threatening simply using sign language to each another, besides not responding to non-negotiable demands. We deserve to know the truth about all police encounters and to be assured that we will not be killed just for being different.

  2. Candy
    Dec 24, 2010 @ 19:09:35

    I’ve been following that one…

    I think what the cop did was wrong. I don’t know if it has anything to do with his being deaf. If you watch a few other videos which I’ve found.. John apparently has had many run-in’s with Seattle cops before. Cops sees him as a drunk, more so than being deaf. John speaks and when the cop talks to him, John understands. I think John got fed up with cops picking on him and well, end result is quite sad. John can hear, he is partially deaf. Other videos I have seen shows John responding to cops with hardly any problems. Looking at the video where the woman seemed startled says a lot, yes. Maybe the cop knew John and is fed up with John walking around Seattle drunk with a knife and his wood. Who knows. Some people are like that, they think the world will be better off with one less person like John. I think this cop should be off the force and charged with murder. And, then there’s this other problem Seattle has with cops. Maybe Seattle need to train their cops to be more compassionate. Closed blades? Geesh.

  3. Candy
    Dec 24, 2010 @ 19:14:58

    Dianrez says:

    “It makes me wonder exactly what is the caliber of men we are hiring as police and what training they are given.”

    I think we keep forgetting they are human. I’ve seen bad cops and I’ve seen good ones. A lot of these cops are under stress. A lot of them escape by drinking or taking drugs. A lot of them are biased. I have seen more biased cops in this small town I live in compared to Chicago. I grew up with three cops on my block, was friends with kids who’s dad are cops/detective. Never had problems with any one of them. Have seen cops get drunk and jump on cars ON DUTY! My brother was beat up by a cop because he couldn’t hear (so he says). Yet, I will always not judge a cop so harshly, because there are good cops out there.

  4. Dianrez
    Dec 24, 2010 @ 22:47:57

    Candy, no one is judging all cops harshly. Police may be human, however, they also have a critically tremendous responsibility, as carriers of deadly weapons and having the advantage in all situations.

    If the cop was “human” and made a mistake because of a wrong impression, all right, but the mistake here is not reversable nor made all right by an apology. If the cops knew Williams as a troublesome guy (there are people saying the opposite) this one would also know he carves wood and carries a pocketknife. We won’t know till the inquest or court proceedings.

    Looking at “police brutality” videos on YouTube, one has to wonder at the number of episodes where cops beat up detained people that were sitting down, handcuffed, sick, and/or protesting their treatment. Some videos show tasers being used on a child, small women or even a man carrying his newborn baby to an elevator.

    Even if half of those were aggravated by bad behavior, that still leaves another half where the violence was excessive and unprofessional. Hence my wondering about the caliber of men inducted into the police forces. I wonder about incidents that were never recorded or released to the public.

    Police trainees are taught to kill, not maim when they shoot. There are dangerous criminals around. Such training and assuming unfortunately puts harmless people in danger if they differ from expectations in any way–signing, not responsive, unaware they shouldn’t wave even a wallet, instinctively resisting if unexpectedly handled. Add to that any ethnic, age, socioeconomic status, etc. and the chance for disaster gets worse.

    In another perspective, there is a courtroom saying “Better ten guilty men go free than to convict a single innocent man.” In police matters, however, the reverse seems to apply: “better ten innocent men be irrepairably harmed than one guilty man go free.”

  5. handeyes
    Dec 29, 2010 @ 17:44:46

    Thanks for ur comments – sorry for the delay – was away

    re: the cop – i think he actually might have his gun out when he passes in front of the cop car – its hard to tell from the video but he does have something gunlike shaped in his hand

    re: how much John T Williams could speak & hear or couldnt – dont matter now eh?

    which is my point

    i can h/ear a great deal and also at other times not h/ear worth a noddle

    and there are many times when folks r calling me from behind when i simply dont realize they r talking to me because the sound waves may make their way to me head but i no comprenda so whatcah gonna do?

    shoot me?

    hope not

    now back to JOHN

    this is a loss and it is unjustified

    and i really really really do appreciate that u both do agree with me and the police dept’s Firearm Review Board

    re: what the officer will be charged with – we will see see

    re: good cops and bad cops – yep there be both

    there be both

    re: what are WE gonna do about it?

    that is the question

    its seems to me at the very least, we should be able to bow our heads and feel this loss

    the loss of this being on this planet

    the loss of this policeman of his service

    the loss of an artist from creation

    the loss of a brother from his nation

    the loss of a fellow Deaf / Hard of Hearing (H/ear not always) person from our universe

    the possible loss of freedom for the officer

    just feel it – ya know

    just feel it

    and then once we are done feeling it – maybe we could think of something collective to do or say to the Seattle Police Dept – like:
    i know u all have a MIGHTY hard job and i would hate to have ur job and we r thankful that there are folks willing to risk their lives to protect the city of Seattle

    we are very sad and sorry that one of your own pulled the trigger four times on one of our own – unjustly, unfairly, unnecessarily, and uncompromisingly

    We watch with eager eyes as Seattle works to right the past wrongs of police brutality and errors and to work towards being peace officers as well as police officers.

    just a thought
    a draft
    a hope

    if no comments after a few days – ill just send it with me own john hancock but if others want to revise and revamp and/or add their name – GREAT and welcome



  6. Dianrez
    Dec 30, 2010 @ 01:36:32

    I’ll go with you on that letter. Besides the points made on behalf of the man, we should also express concern as Deaf people that we will not also be similarly shot down under the assumption that we can hear. Hopefully the Police Department will recognize this as the voice of the citizens they were sworn to protect.

  7. Don G.
    Dec 30, 2010 @ 05:55:41

    Patti —

    I’ll sign on to any letter. I think there is almost no excuse the cop can offer that can justify his shooting. I’m sad to see any Deaf person trying to defend the cop — this could easily happen to any of us, just because we didn’t hear them trying to get our attention.

    Sad also to see the Seattle Deaf community is not protesting this. If this were to happen in the Black community, or other communities, I am pretty sure we would be seeing protests in front of the City Hall or main police precinct.

  8. handeyes
    Dec 30, 2010 @ 14:53:12

    Hi Diane and don

    thanks for ur comments and commitment to contributing something – being change agents and all

    that is grand and important

    thank you

    Diane do you want to try to work in your point into the draft i have above or start completely anew. I agree the point you want us to add is very important.

    Thanks again



  9. Trackback: More links on the shooting of John T Williams « PEOPLE OF THE EYE -…first, last, and all the time” – g. veditz 1910
  10. deafnicity
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 16:01:03

    Candy, I find your search to find reasons other than John being Deaf nearly as sad as the tragedy that occurred. Fortunately, I came to my senses and abandoned the audist notion that John was killed because of his deafness. His medical circumstance was not the cause. Although, class, race, age, sex type, and previous encounters with police may have influenced things, the intervening variable was that John was Deaf. If you need that explained to you go read some of Katrina Miller’s research about Deaf interactions with the criminal justice system.

  11. Candy
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 17:25:15


    If you know me as well as you think you do, you’ll also know that I tend to look at all sides. You and I do not know FOR SURE that the cop shot him because he is deaf. Only God knows. That cop is probably the biggest asshole, but we don’t know that for sure. I’m not one of those deaf people who has a ‘chip on his shoulder’ and jump to conclusion every single time, thinking ‘oh, it’s probably because he/she is deaf’. I have moved on from that kind of sad thinking that many deaf people have. You have NO idea what my family and I had gone through with cops in the past and someone like you, perhaps, would have such a big grudge on cops. I forgive and move on. I’m not going to have that kind of mentality like you and others. Truth is, Seattle cops appear to have a history of abuse (of other people too!!!). I am well aware that many police department do not train their officers well about the deaf and often times, decisions have to be made quicky. They’re just as human as we are so, I will reserve my judgement on assuming that the cop shot him because he is deaf. Have you seen the other videos where the cops have had run-ins with John? Trust me, I don’t need to read Katrina’s research. I have LIVED it.

  12. Dianrez
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 20:09:19

    Candy, I searched for the videos you mentioned of other police run-ins with Williams. Found one edited video. It seems Williams was a habitual drunk, regularly hassled by police, and well known to them. He wasn’t shown to be violent or aggressive.

    Also found another news video that says Williams was shot in the back, or that he wasn’t facing the officer when shot.

    These seem to be why the initial determination was made that the shooting wasn’t “justified”.

    Is the law these days such that police cannot throw an alcoholic in the drunk tank to dry out, or commit him to a mental institution for being a “danger to self or to others”?

    On review of the dash cam video, it seems the cop was indeed carrying a gun at the ready when first approaching Williams. In police training, unholstering a gun means preparing to use it. That should raise questions about many things. (i.e., closed knife, shot in the back.)

    Candy, like you, I have lived with police officers and am aware of the difficulties they experience. It isn’t a matter of forgiving them for mistakes with deaf people. Police simply must not make ANY irreversible mistakes, period. As armed upholders of the law, they must be hired and trained to a higher, professional standard of responsibility.

  13. Candy
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 21:55:21

    Right, he was harassed and picked on, that was my thought too. I don’t think there is any justification for cops harassing or picking on anyone for any reason (deaf or not, or even alcoholic or not). There are more than one videos I saw, I believe it was at least four. I’m in the middle of writing up my last post of the year..will try to track down these videos for you.

    I’m saying that as with a lot of things in life, people can either forgive from the bottom of their hearts in order to move on without being bitter because bitterness grows and consumes a person. For me, to be able to live my life without any bittnerness, I’ve learn to forgive. I have seen how bitterness has consume people, even if someone shot someone they love. I know it’s hard. Not easy, so, I’m not going to try to tell others how to feel. Ask yourself this, if someone shot one of your kids or your husband, will you be able to forgive? I have seen families forgiving others for the murder of their own. I’m sure it took a lot to do that, and in the long run people are better person for it. Not easy to do.

    I’m sure the laws are different in each state as it relates to holding drunks until they sober up. It would be more humane to do that, I agree.

  14. deafnicity
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 00:23:21

    Candy, if memory serves me correctly I may have met you one time. IF that is true, and I am not certain that it is, that still wouldn’t constitute knowing you. What I can do is extrapolate from your comments that I have read and end up with a snapshot of you. Each time you post, you add more snapsots. At some point it is fair to deduce patterns if they exist. What I can figure out is that you are not schooled in the area of criminal justice. I suggest you consult some experts. Although I teach criminal justice, have an experential understanding of being discriminated against as a Native and have an experential understanding of audism, it is clear to me that you don’t want to do anything but put down whatever I say — even in the few instances that I agree with you. So I suggest you read Katrina Miller’s works. OR if you insist email a local police chief, sheriff, police academy, civilian oversight board, criminal justice programs at any of the many universities in Wisconsin — ask them one simple question —“What is the most important qualification of any applicant seeking to apply for a position in law enforcement?” Then ask yourself whether the information you have about John’s shooter matches up with that qualification. I bring police chiefs, members of civilian oversight boards, and professors in criminology to my classes when I teach criminal justice, something I have seven years of experience in teaching. But again, it is better if you get the information on your own. That way I can’t accuse your rightly or wrongly of twisting what I say. You can get the information independent of anyone you presume to be “blinded by Deaf culture”. In fact, you could get the information exclusively from hearing people. That won’t change the most important qualification.

    So after you get to that point we can discuss the numerous variables that are known to have come into play. We can also compare other encounters the same police officer had with other other Natives, other drunks, others from margins of society. What variable is different? What triggered the police to shoot John? Before assumiing the policeman had run ins with John simply because John was a drunk and had run ins with other officers is a leap in logic that your skeptical mind has not entertained. Why? For the sake of disagreeing at a time of tragedy? I would hope not, but it surely points in that direction. Read Milers work, go send a couple of emails to those who can tell you about the qualifications — and then come discuss the matter rationally.

  15. Candy
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 00:55:54


    You don’t really seem to understand what I’m saying. It seems like you disregarded why I said what I said and you seem to be pretty biased. I wouldn’t be surprised if you also have this chip on your shoulder.

    You seem to ASSume that because I said John had run ins with officer, that I saw it as a justification. Let me make something clear to you, nowhere did I say the shooting was justified, nor am I making light of it. I’m trying to understand how the cop or the police department thinks and/or assess the situation.

    There is a lot of cops in WI that are pretty ignorant. I’m not originally from WI. I have had several cops approaching me and thanking me for educating them about deaf people.

    I don’t think I’ve met you. I checked you out on FB and saw your picture, don’t think I’ve ever met you at all. I’m pretty sure of it. Unless you went to that ZVRS mobile event to watch Phil Bravin a few months ago in Madison, if you did then we might have bumped into each other without introducing ourselves.

    For your sake, I will read what Katrina Miller says. Just so you know, I may not learn anything new. I will probably already know these things.

  16. Candy
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 01:11:16

    I really don’t have time tonight to be looking for Katrina’s stuff. If it’s online, can you kindly provide the links to them?

    I don’t want to compromise myself by revealing more here, but, trust me..I do know something about law enforcement. I do know more than you think I do.

    So, if your’e willing to share links, I’ll read them as soon as I’m done with my new post.


  17. handeyes
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 01:32:21

    forgiveness vs bitterness are very important things

    Markku spoke of this at his address at WFD ICED Vancouver 2010

    it seems to me that i can not forgive others on behalf of others but i can always examine my own prejudices, dark places and spaces, and pull those bitter herbs out into the light of the sun and FORGIVE when folks have personally wronged me or my people (which is basically everybody smile)

    Nelson Mandela said: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

    This is powerful

    I do not know what i would do if any of my beloved immediate family members or extended loved ones were killed – i can hope i would be like the amish folks that reached out to the family of the man who murder of their children and offer funds and love and support. i can hope i would be like some of the survivors of the Rwanda genocide – Tutis forgiving Hutus. i can hope i would be like some of the Holocaust survivors who have forgiven.

    I do not hate this young officer, Ian Birk. I have prayed for him and his family. My heart is sad for him. When i learned of the shooting and i read some of the media hype i could see some OVER characterizations of John T Williams – to paint him in a certain way and manner but i also learned of the MANY other cases with the police of Seattle were not acting justly and having studied a wee bit of criminal justice – i know that it is often unjust particularly as it relates to minorities, underrepresented folks, and underprivileged folks so i said – gotta wait and see

    and then came the VIDEO and i saw. yes i do not see the shooting but i do see the man cross the street – he is not staggering like a drunken sailor, he is not ranting and raving, he is not disorderly, he is not even jay walking. And then i see the cop, the rookie Birk – chase after him on foot with is gun at the ready and i ask WHY? i really have to ask why?

    and i see all the cars and the bystander (walking across the street) not even bat an eye until the POP, POP, POP, POP

    count ’em folks 4 times

    he was alive and a few seconds later he was not

    no longer Deaf but forever Dead

    that is not cool – if he had a gun perhaps the argument of self defense would yield some merit for the HASTE and rapid fire shooting but even then im sure there would be an investigation cuz this all went down WAY WAY WAY too quick

    we got eyes to see and hearts to feel and many a many of folks r writing about the release of that video and they got fully functioning ears that say – this is all mighty queer here

    if john was hurling his hands or vomit at the cop – the bystander would have noticed but she didnt until the BAD thing happen and the BAD thing happened cuz the cop did it and John did nothing

    Someone (presumably this same woman) asks off camera something to which the officer says something like ‘Mam he wouldn’t put the knife down”

    he doesnt say – he was about to attack me – he just says i told him to do something and he wouldnt do it

    he also says the same thing to the many cops that arrive on the scene

    he never says john turns around, john approaches him, john threatens him, john opens his knife and hurls it at him

    nope – all he says is a told him to drop it and he wouldnt

    and the guy is partially Deaf

    again – cuz redundancy is handy sometimes – even if he WEREN’T Deaf – was four SHOTS TO KILL necessary in this situation?

    firearms folks say NOPE NOPE NOPE

    we will see what the inquest says

    as for the OTHER incidents – pls see the ACLU letter to the US Dept of Justice Civil Rights Division (link above the video boxes) – something is rotten in Denmark Seattle

    this is pattern – racial profiling, folks on the fringe / margins meets Zimbardo prison study and Milgram

    not cool

    and yes forgive

    nobody needs the weight of bitterness imprisoning us forever

    forgiveness does not mean ignore, dismiss, minimize, pretend, defend, deflect


    i have been crying since watching that video and reading more and getting to know John T Williams more

    i have been crying since trying to understand why this young cop would do such a blatantly unnecessary and unyielding and uncompromising and everlasting thing

    it is not my place to tell John T Williams’ family, nation, or community that they must forgive

    it is not my place to judge them if they refuse to forgive or if they want vengeance of an excessive kind

    it is my WISH and HOPE that they will want justice and love to prevail and for this not to happen again.

    yes i know there will be mishaps and mistakes – no one and nothing is ever perfect but hopefully something this BLATANTLY WRONG as all of us have AGREED here is WRONG will not happen again

    we do not know what is to come but we can rest assured if none of his peeps came out to public mourn, to hold a vigil, to give testimony, to bear witness, to do a public shout out – i would not know anything about this beyond a one day few second click and scan and hmmmm “i wonder….” moment

    but because people got busy and got visible and got GOOD – aiming for positive peace (not negative peace) not the absence of tension but rather the presence of justice (what mlk preached) – there may indeed be some justice here

    it will not bring John back

    no it wont and i am crying again

    i am serious here – my nose is stinging and my eyes are filling up

    sooo about that letter folks????

    can someone take a hack at my draft up above – write it more globally and add in the component Dianrez mentioned and anything else they feel is needed and share for input and then we can ship that baby out

    least we can do for john

    me im aiming to find out who i can buy one of his totem poles

    i am also crying for our Deaf commUNITY a bit on this one – im just wondering if John had been a White Deaf guy who held a middle class or upper middle class job and he got shot after crossing a street while carrying a knife to open up a letter or a box – would we be this SILENT, this quiet, this “dang shit not cool” then nothing?

    or would we too take to the streets and join up with John’s brothers and sisters????

    i know if it happened within an area i could easily reach – i would be there but i feel mighty sad that i wasnt and that i didnt make more noise about it sooner

    and im wondering – would i have done more sooner had he been White? Had he been sober 24/7, had be been “presentable”

    i am hoping my delay was just because i needed to see the facts / the proof and now that i have – i am in mourning

    by the way – someone emailed me about an African-American Deaf Developmentally Delayed man in Alabama who was repeated hit with a taser by police despite his repeated attempts to alert them to his being Deaf

    Know of several cases where African-American Deaf men have been shot down dead in the streets by cops – wrong place, wrong time kinda thing and several cases where they have sat in prisons unjustly unendingly because the cocktail mix of racism, classism, ableism and audism is often a toxic one.

    so any takers on that letter

    it will be one step in the direction of making me new years wish come true

    and i do thank each of you for caring about this

    much peace


  18. deafnicity
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 02:54:28

    Patti – your post is touching. John did do something, but not anything that deserves being kiled for or even detained. John acted Deaf. I do not mean audiologically. I mean his mannerisms are Deaf/Native. The policeman failed to correctly interpret the cultural differences. The results were deadly. He didn’t shoot John because John was drunk. No evidence has been presented that he was drunk. But if he was drunk – when did police get a license to kill someone for being drunk? As you noted – he was not confrontational — but if he was – when did police get a license to kill someone who argued with them. Good grief – imagine how many speeding motorists would not be dead from a police gun. For carrying a carving tool – there were be more than a few wood carvers killed by police if carrying wood carving tools in public was a crime that legitimates police killing civilians. No doubt there are those who have family and friends who are or were police and it can distort their interpretation of the facts. I can understand their need to cling to memories that are not at all related to the murder of John Williams. But I cannot subscribe to the idea John’s Deaf behaviors were not part of the police officer’s misinterpretation of the scene. Will justice be served? I doubt it.

  19. handeyes
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 21:06:59


    thanks for all u wrote – its important

    i hope u r wrong re: justice being served though but now u got me thinking – how can justice truly be served in this case? He is gone there is no changing that. i guess maybe at the very least im hoping injustice will not be served on top of the injustice that was already perpetrated

    much peace


  20. handeyes
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 03:50:50

    Draft letter for the Seattle Police – pls give ur input and leave a comment if u want ur name added

    Dear Members of the Seattle Police Force:

    We know you all have a MIGHTY hard job and we would hate to have your job. We are thankful that there are folks willing to risk their lives to protect the city of Seattle

    We are very sad and sorry that one of your own pulled the trigger four times on one of our own – John T. Williams – unjustly, unfairly, unnecessarily, and uncompromisingly.

    We watch with eager eyes as Seattle works to right the past wrongs of police brutality and errors (see ACLU letter to the US Dept of Justice Civil Rights Division) – especially those that have been born out of racism, classism, ageism, ableism and audism*. More awareness of Deaf folks as a cultural, linguistic, and differently abled group is very much needed. Too many folks have been killed in the line of simply living Deaf lives. We look forward to seeing the police force and the city of Seattle work towards being peace officers as well as police officers.


    Concerned Members of the Deaf Community

    Definition of Audism from Audism Free America:
    Audism is attitudes and practices based on the assumption that behaving in the ways of those who speak and hear is desired and best. It produces a system of privilege, thus resulting in stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice—in overt or covert ways—against Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and Deaf people of all walks of life.

  21. Dianrez
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 06:57:54

    The letter is written in a conciliatory, peacemaking way, which may go down in history as a valuable and eloquent document.

    I wonder, sometimes, if a more sharply worded letter addressed to the state legislature as well as the city police personnel might provoke more thought.

    Still, this letter that you have drafted will serve its purpose of making a statement to be added to the many voices of Seattle’s people. I’d also send it to the Seattle newspapers as well.

  22. handeyes
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 12:46:25

    heye dianrez

    thank u for ur note and complimentary words

    re: “a more sharply worded letter” to the state legislature and even amping up the one to the cops and sending to the media – do u wanna take a try at it. u r a master with words and u got a good heart. Firm with love is very very important and sharp is good

    feel free to start a brand new if that is easier to work from – ill wait a few days and if nothing then re-read and see if i can tweak it to have more POW power and then send it off but i do believe u know what to do best here and really welcome what others want to add / contribute

    again i thank ya



  23. kewlasl
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 20:01:38

    Hello All,

    When my husband showed me the video of the incident shot by the cam at the intersection, there was a lot of interesting auditory information which cannot be picked up by visual. For instance, when the lady (witness) walked by, it seems that she asked the cop why he shot John Williams. On the tape you can hear the cop’s reply which basically says, “I asked him to put the knife down, ma’am, and he refused”. You can also hear exactly how it happened as the cop came behind John and ordered him to drop the knife. It seems obvious to me that the cop had no training or awareness that this person could be Deaf. If he actually knew John, even more shame on him and the Seattle police force! To me, there is no excuse for this ignorance in a city with such a large and thriving Deaf and Deafblind population!

  24. handeyes
    Jan 03, 2011 @ 01:03:00

    heye kewlasl

    thank u for the comment. i have been searching for a captioned version of the police cam but no luck yet. yes i do think alot of the comments are very important and telling.

    Yes, i agree re: its a shame



  25. Trackback: Is Candy’s question valid? « PEOPLE OF THE EYE -…first, last, and all the time” – g. veditz 1910
  26. Dianrez
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 23:33:32

    Here’s further news reportage: on an inquest into the Williams shooting:

  27. Trackback: 4 votes – Williams not imminent threat « PEOPLE OF THE EYE -…first, last, and all the time” – g. veditz 1910
  28. Trackback: Police Off for Murder of John T Williams « PEOPLE OF THE EYE -…first, last, and all the time” – g. veditz 1910
  29. Trackback: $1.5 Million dollars – Deaf shall not = Death « PEOPLE OF THE EYE -…first, last, and all the time” – g. veditz 1910

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