Adrian Diaz out as Seattle Police Department chief

Article Summary:

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has seen a change in leadership as Adrian Diaz, the chief, has stepped down from his post amid allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Diaz was accused by multiple employees in lawsuits and tort claims, but he denied these allegations. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell made the announcement that Diaz will serve on "special assignment" and that former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr will serve as the interim chief for at least six months.

Rahr spoke after Diaz during a press conference, expressing her commitment to strengthen public safety, recruit new officers, and build trust with the community. Former Seattle police Chief Kathleen O’Toole will assist Rahr in conducting a national search for a new permanent chief.

In recent months, the SPD has faced internal turmoil. Four female employees accused Diaz and his top lieutenant, John O’Neill, of harassment, discrimination, and a hostile work environment. An independent investigator was hired to review these claims. Assistant Chief Tyrone Davis was also put on administrative leave, and it’s unclear what the nature of the complaint was that led to his suspension.

Davis was promoted by Diaz and has been the highest-ranking African American officer in the department. He was promoted to assistant chief in 2017 and deputy chief in 2020. Diaz was appointed to the permanent position as chief in 2023, after serving as an interim chief since 2020.

The SPD continues to struggle with staffing, with over 345 officers fewer than the current count. Despite offering major signing bonuses and a substantial pay increase, the city has found it challenging to recruit new officers.