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Seattle police chief steps down from top job amid discrimination, harassment lawsuits

Mayor Bruce Harrel said that he met with former chief Adrian Diaz and they agreed Diaz should step down; Diaz has denied all allegations presented in the suits

Adrian Diaz

FILE - Then-Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz addresses a news conference in Seattle, on Sept. 2, 2020. Seattle’s embattled police chief has been dismissed, Mayor Bruce Harrel said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Elaine Thompson/AP

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Seattle’s embattled police chief has been dismissed, Mayor Bruce Harrel said Wednesday.

Harrell said at a news conference that he met with Adrian Diaz on Tuesday and they agreed Diaz should step down. He will work on special assignments for the mayor with the police department, Harrell said.

Diaz’s departure comes about a week after police Capt. Eric Greening filed a lawsuit alleging that he discriminated against women and people of color, news outlet KUOW reported.

Greening is one of at least a half-dozen officers who have sued the department alleging sex and racial discrimination, and naming Diaz specifically. Last month several female officers filed a tort claim for $5 million, alleging harassment and sex discrimination.

Diaz has vehemently denied the allegations. Harrel said earlier this month that he would hire an outside investigator to examine some of the allegations.

On Wednesday, Harrell said the lawsuits were a distraction for Diaz. He praised Diaz, who appeared with him at the news conference, but said the two agreed that change could “be better served with him stepping aside.”

“I’ve accomplished so much in the four years as chief, but there’s more to be done,” Diaz said.

Diaz took over as acting chief in 2020 for Carmen Best, who resigned following a summer of demonstrations against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He was later given the job officially.

Diaz will be replaced on an interim basis by Sue Rahr, a former sheriff of King County, where Seattle is located. Rahr most recently led the state’s police academy, where she evangelized a mantra of “guardians, not warriors.”