Law

JOHN T. WILLIAMS SHOOTING
2:12 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

Woodcarver fatal shooting not justified, says Seattle Police board

Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer announces the findings of a Seattle Police Department review of the fatal shooting last summer of John T. Williams by Officer Ian Birk.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

The shooting death of a Native American woodcarver by a Seattle police officer last summer was not justified. That’s the finding announced by the police department’s Firearms Review Board today. 

The review found Officer Ian Birk took actions that were "outside of policy, tactics and training."

The case is “among the most egregious failings that I’ve seen in my thirty years with the Seattle Police Department,” said the board chairman, Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer.

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PUBLIC LANDS
1:33 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

Bill would charge fee to access state recreation sites

Day use of one of Washington's 119 state parks, such as Moran State Park on Orcas Island would cost $10 or $30 annually under a proposed bill.
HeatherL Flickr

First the state Senate, now the House. Either way, it’ll cost you ten bucks to visit a Washington State Park for the day if the legislature passes measures now being considered in Olympia.

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Jayme Biendl murder
4:23 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Monroe inmate confesses to killing guard Jayme Biendl

Convicted rapist Byron Scherf has admitted killing Monroe Reformatory corrections officer Jayme Biendl, according to a search warrant released Friday.
AP

Byron Scherf, a convicted rapist already serving a life sentence has confessed to the killing of Monroe Reformatory guard Jayme Biendl.

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Washington State Legislature
8:05 am
Fri February 11, 2011

One month down, lots of work ahead on budget

Supporters of pre-K programs in Washington rally on the steps of the statehouse in opposition to proposed budget cuts.
Austin Jenkins N3

Washington's legislature has hit the one-month mark. Budget writers say a deal is close at hand between the House and Senate to re-balance the current two-year spending plan. After that, attention will shift to the closing a multi-billion dollar shortfall in the next two-year budget.

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Anacortes Explosion
6:05 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Suit filed over deaths at Tesoro Refinery

A security truck outside the Tesoro Refinery on March Point in Anacortes, WA, on Friday, April 2, 2010.
AP

The families of six Tesoro Corporation refinery workers killed in an explosion at an Anacortes site last April have filed a wrongful-death suit against the company Wednesday. 

The Seattle Times' Jim Brunner reports the suit alleges Tesoro was negligent in addressing the conditions that resulted in the blast, which killed seven people. In addition to the six families, a contractor injured in the explosion has also joined the suit.

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Washington Legislature
7:47 am
Wed February 9, 2011

Treasurer, lawmakers seek constitutional amendment on pensions

A bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers proposes a constitutional amendment to require pension payments.
Austin Jenkins N3

Washington's pension system is underfunded to the tune of nearly $7 billion. Now the State Treasurer and a bipartisan group of lawmakers say the time has come to force the legislature to pay the pension bill.

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Death in the Line of Duty
5:51 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

Murdered corrections officer remembered for courage, commitment and compassion

An honor guard stands before the flag-draped casket bearing the body of Corrections Officer Jayme Lee Biendl during a memorial service held Tuesday at Comcast Arena in Everett. Biendl's family sits in the front row.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

Several thousand mourners, many of them uniformed law  enforcement officers, gathered in Everett Tuesday to pay tribute to Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl.

Biendl was killed January 29th while on duty at the state prison in Monroe. She was the first corrections officer killed in a Washington prison in over 30 years.

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Gary Ridgway Charged
7:41 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

New murder charge filed against "Green River Killer"

An undated photo of Becky Marrero, who disappeared near Sea-Tac in 1982. The man dubbed the "Green River killer" is now charged with her murder.
King County Prosecutor's Office


The man known as the "Green River Killer" has been charged with another murder. Gary Ridgway is already serving a life sentence for killing 48 women. He's considered one of the nation's most prolific serial killers.


On Monday, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced aggravated first-degree murder charges against Gary Ridgway in the death of Rebecca "Becky" Marrero, who disappeared after leaving a motel in SeaTac in 1982.


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Lakewood Police Shootings
3:16 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

Newly released records reveal more about Maurice Clemmons, investigation into police murders

Lakewood Police on alert following the November 2009 shootings of four fellow officers at a Parkland area coffee shop.
AP

A batch of documents released by the Pierce County Sheriff late last week reveal more about the man who killed four Lakewood Police officers in a Parkland coffee shop in late 2009. More than 2,000 pages provide added details about Maurice Clemmons, his family and the investigation into the murders.


The documents were released following a long legal dispute between Pierce County and a number of news organizations, including The News Tribune, The Seattle Times, The Associated Press and three Seattle television stations: KIRO, KOMO and KING. 

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State Legislature
2:18 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

The official state rock?

The Old Tenino Bank, featuring a solid column of Tenino sandstone
nwgeology.wordpress.com

Tenino sandstone would become the official state rock under a bill introduced this week by Republican state senator Dan Swecker of Rochester.

Critics may wonder why lawmakers are drafting bills for state rocks rather than dealing with an estimated $5 billion shortfall in the next biennial budget, but the bill is actually the work of a group of Tenino School District students. 

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DUI Enforcement
1:44 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

Drive safely on Super Bowl Sunday

Washington State Patrol car
Al Pavangkanan flickr.com

In the past 9 years, 12 people have died on Washington highways during Super Bowl Sunday. "Target Zero Teams" will be out in force in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, looking for impaired drivers this weekend.The Washington State Patrol says nearly three dozen city police officers, county sheriff's deputies and state troopers will be on patrol after the game.

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Police Accountability
8:53 am
Fri February 4, 2011

Probe of native woodcarver shooting deemed fair, but mistakes made by Seattle investigators

Another peer review of Seattle's handling of the John T. Williams shooting has found the police department conducted a fair and thorough investigation. 

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Police Accountability
7:54 am
Fri February 4, 2011

Seattle forum on police conduct draws anger, demands for change

Protesters state their views on Seattle Police Chief John Diaz during a police accountability forum at city hall Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, in this image from KOMO-TV.
KOMO-TV

Hundreds packed a Seattle forum on police accountability Thursday evening, an event which quickly turned into a showcase of public anger over recent incidents involving questions of excessive force against ethnic minorities.

The event, sponsored by Mayor Mike McGinn and The Stranger, was organized in the wake of tensions following the shooting death last year of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams by Officer Ian Birk. 

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Basic Health Plan
2:23 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Proposal would cut illegal immigrants from Basic Health Plan

Undocumented immigrants would lose state medical coverage under a proposal to save the popular Basic Health insurance program. The get-tough measure is part of a budget-cutting plan unveiled by the State Senate. But it's at odds with a competing approach in the House.

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Law and Justice
2:12 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Guilty verdict in murder-for-hire case of Clearly Lasik co-founder

The co-founder of a Northwest chain of eye-surgery centers has been convicted of plotting to kill two former colleagues.


Dr. Michael Mockovak of Clearly Lasik eye centers was found guilty Thursday of four counts, including attempted murder. The King County Superior Court jury deliberated for less than two days.


Prosecutors said Mockovak was willing to pay more than $100,00 to have business partner Dr. Joseph King and former company president Brad Klock killed, and that he solicited an employee to hire an assassin.

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