Diaz Quits as Chief in Seattle, Where Officers Often Are Accused of Using Excessive Force


Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, 55, announced he would retire after 33 years on the force, saying, “It was time for me to go,” the Seattle Times reports. To his supporters, his steady hand and quiet approach were a comfort. His style turned on him after the department came under federal scrutiny and widespread community criticism over several video-recorded confrontations involving his officers, including the 2010 fatal shooting of woodcarver John Williams. Assistant Chief Jim Pugel will replace him as interim chief. Diaz, a Latino, was named interim chief in 2009, after the departure of Gil Kerlikowske, now the White House drug policy adviser. Diaz noted that he had steered the department through a Department of Justice investigation, implemented new community policing goals, reduced crime, and overseen innovative ways to address it. The department has agreed to reforms addressing the Justice Department's finding that officers routinely used excessive force. Critics say Diaz is part of a culture of excessive tolerance, having come up through the ranks and been in the command staff for a dozen years, during which the department has repeatedly been criticized by two blue-ribbon panels and community leaders over failures to address officer misconduct.

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