Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:
- Hundreds Protest in Seattle After Birk Decision
- Agreement Reached on Deficit Cutting Package
- Wet Snow for Parts of Western Washington
- More Charges in Lakewood Police Shooting Case
Surprise, Anger, Emotion Follow Birk Rebuke, Resignation
Protesters numbering in the hundreds marched from downtown Seattle to a Capitol Hill Police precinct following a day of dramatic developments in the case of Officer Ian Birk. In the span of a few hours Wednesday:
- The King County Prosecutor's Office announced it would not file criminal charges against Birk for the shooting death of Native American woodcarver John T. Williams.
- The Seattle Police Firearms Review Board reported its finding that Birk's shooting of Williams was unjustified. (Video here.)
- Officer Birk resigned from the Seattle Police Department.
The Review Board found Birk took actions that were outside of policy, tactics and training. Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer said Birk's actions during his encounter with Williams were among the most egregious he's seen during his 30 years on the force.
Despite those findings, in saying he will not file charges against Birk, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Washington law protects police officers from a homicide charge unless there's evidence of malice or bad faith.
The Seattle Times reports a rally and "carve-in" will be held Saturday to honor the life of John T. Williams at Pike Place Market's Victor Steinbrueck Park from 1 to 5 p.m.
Dems, GOP Hammer Out Accord for cutting state budget deficit
An agreement has been reached by Democratic and Republican lawmakers to patch most of a half a billion dollar deficit in this year's state budget.
The lawmakers have agreed to trim several programs, including the state's health care program for the poor and aid for the disabled, as well as transfer funds from other programs.
The agreement announced Wednesday reduces the deficit by about $360 million, with about $245 million in cuts and $125 million in transfers.
Lawmakers have spent the first month of the 105-day legislative session trying to come up with this agreement.
Once the current budget is balanced, Gov. Chris Gregoire and legislators will have to tackle an estimated $5 billion deficit in the next two-year budget, which is roughly $37 billion
Much of Western Washington Gets Snow; No Accumulation Expected
Cold temperatures are bringing wet snow showers Thursday to parts of Western Washington - along the coast and in the convergence zone in Snohomish County - but the National Weather Service expects no significant accumulations.
Forecasters say cool unsettled weather will persist into the middle of next week with lows around freezing in Western Washington.
Murder Charges Filed Against Clemmons Getaway Driver
The Pierce County prosecutor has filed additional charges against the man accused of being the getaway driver when Maurice Clemmons killed four Lakewood police officers.
Darcus Allen is already charged with aggravated murder in the November 2009 shootings at a Parkland coffee shop.
Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Wednesday he filed second-degree murder charges to give a jury more options when the case goes to trial, scheduled for March 1.
The News Tribune reports that if the 39-year-old is convicted of the second-degree murder charges he could receive a sentence of 122 years.