Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker announced the resignation under pressure of Police Chief Chris Burbank in connection with the mishandling of sexual-harassment complaints brought by three female officers, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Becker said the chief last year failed to demote the deputy chief accused of harassment, contrary to the direction of the mayor’s office. Burbank, a nine-year veteran, defended his actions in putting then-deputy Rick Findlay on paid leave for several months until he retired with full benefits last June, instead of demoting him.
Burbank said he could not agree to the mayor’s “ultimatum” of reading a prepared statement and apology. He said he was given only minutes to decide whether to read the statement in front of TV cameras and reporters, resign or be fired. He considered the statement “wholly inappropriate,” and resigned. “I’m not a politician, I’m a public servant,” Burbank said. “This decision is not in the best interest of the public, it’s election politics and it’s extremely unfortunate.” The sexual-harassment case involved substantiated complaints by three officers, who said they were later retaliated against. Burbank said, “I firmly believe that the police department and myself personally have handled sexual harassment with zero tolerance,” he said.