SEATTLE—An emotional memorial at the place where John T. Williams was shot, turned into an angry march towards police headquarters Tuesday night.
Friends and family gathered at the intersection of Boren Avenue and Howell Street where Williams was shot and killed by Officer Ian Birk August 30th.
Police are investigating whether the shooting was justified, but say Birk saw Williams walking with a knife in his hand, and opened fire only after warning him several times to put it down.
Birk reportedly told investigators he felt threatened, but those who gathered at Tuesday's memorial are outraged.
"He was murdered for no reason," said Andy Mason, "this man was disabled, he was deaf in one ear, and he never harmed a soul."
The group showed its frustration with police by marching down to headquarters and rallying outside.
"He had problems," says David Menter, "but you know what, there was no reason to take a gun out and kill that man that way."
No one was arrested, and they left peacefully.
Last Friday, local Native American groups lashed out at the Seattle Police Department and Seattle city leaders and joined with tribal leaders to say they don't think the shooting was justified.
"We are holding the Seattle Police Department and the city of Seattle accountable for his death," Chief Seattle Executive Director, Jenine Grey said.
The groups sent a letter to the Police Chief and the Mayor with several demands. They want the investigation into the shooting to include someone from the Native American community; they want more training for officers; direct communication from the Chief and an apology.
"We demand that the Seattle Police Department immediately refrain from and apologize for dehumanizing John T. Williams," Grey said. Grey was surrounded by many of the people who attended a vigil for Williams the night before.
Mayor Mike McGinn and City Attorney Pete Holmes attended Thursday night's vigil. With the inquest still going on and tensions boiling over, their attendance raised eyebrows around Seattle. Holmes said the two went to the vigil separately and did not speak to each other at the event. Holmes said organizers made it the clear the event was not a protest "it was to be present with the community and that community made it clear this was about honoring ancient traditions."
Holmes wouldn't comment on the accusations made at the press conference. He did want people to know he supports Police Chief John Diaz and going to vigil had nothing to do with his feelings about the confrontation with the office. "To characterize that as an attack on the SPD or prejudging the actions of the officers was not at all evident at the vigil," Holmes explained.
The mayor's office said he went to pay his respects after being invited by the Executive Director of the Chief Seattle Club. He also said he's committed to meeting with members of these communities to discuss their frustrations.
Still, minority groups say they're skeptical that they can get a fair investigation. "The inquest process in Seattle-King County rarely leads to any kind of justice whatsoever," James Bible with the NAACP said.
There's no word on if a meeting has been set-up between Native-American groups, the mayor and the Police Chief.