Community leaders defend Seattle Police Chief accused of discrimination, sexual harassment

Community leaders mounted a fierce defense for Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, firing back at a growing number of legal claims against him and the department.

At least seven officers have come forward, alleging multiple cases of discrimination and retaliation against women and people of color on the force.

Two of the people making the claims against Diaz are high-ranking police veterans, but the chief's supporters say the officers are twisting the facts because they are out to get the chief.

"With him not being able to defend himself, city council and other people, they’re talking and making him look guilty and that’s not right and shame on city council," said Officer Victoria Beach, defending Diaz.

The most recent claim was from Captain Eric Greening, a 30-year veteran of the force, who claims Diaz demoted him after he flagged potential racist and sexist behaviors within the department.

Another complaint by Captain Deanne Nolette, who served as assistant chief for criminal investigations, said Diaz has a history of demeaning women.

But Officer Victoria Beach, who sits on the department's African American Advisory Council, says there is only one side of the story being heard.

"They talk about retaliation, the chief is retaliating, they’re retaliating against him because they didn’t get the position," Beach said.

Both Greening and Nolette applied for Diaz's job, but lost out in the selection process.

"These entire litigation allegedly are from disgruntled employees, people that didn’t get their way, people who are not faithful to our police department, people who lack the integrity, who are not faithful or loyal to our chief," said Carmen Martinez, a Latino Advisory Council Liaison Officer with SPD.

Reverend Harriet Walden with the Mothers for Police Accountability says these claims are also discriminatory against the chief.

"This is racism, they’re not going to be satisfied until they get a white police chief," Walden said. "This is a mutiny and what happens when you rank and file if you don’t like a police chief, they do a mutiny."

The speakers didn't spend much time arguing against the broader claims of gender bias against women within the department, which are at the heart of a tort claim filed in April by four female officers.


Female cops accuse Seattle Police leadership of 'grooming,' sexual harassment

Four female police officers have filed a tort claim against the Seattle Police Department, alleging sex discrimination, sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

Earlier this month, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell hired a firm to investigate the sexual discrimination and harassment claims against leaders of the police department, including Chief Diaz.

"To Chief Diaz, you stay strong and committed in your vision," said Martinez. "And we will stand by you, we are not going to be silenced."

Diaz's supporters said the chief didn't have any part in planning Thursday's news conference.


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