Seattle Mayor to Make ‘Major Public Safety Announcement’ Wednesday

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell is expected to make a “major public safety announcement” Wednesday at 1 p.m.

A source told KOMO News the announcement was about Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz.

KOMO News will broadcast the announcement live here, on YouTube and on the KOMO watch page.

Recent SPD Disorders

A month ago, Harrell said he was evaluating all members of the Seattle Police Department, including the chief, amid a series of allegations of sexual harassment and gender and racial discrimination by department heads.

Diaz has been accused by several employees in lawsuits and tort claims. He denied the allegations.

Last month, four female employees came forward to accuse the chief and his top lieutenant, John O’Neill, of harassment, discrimination and a hostile work environment. They filed a $5 million claim against the city.

In late April, Harrell said he hired an independent investigator to look into the allegations against Diaz and O’Neill, who heads the media relations unit.

Deputy Chief Tyrone Davis was placed on administrative leave on May 23, adding to the internal chaos at SPD. In a message to staff, Diaz said the move was a precautionary measure “due to allegations (from the Office of Police Accountability).” The nature of the OPA complaint that led to the immediate suspension is clear.

Davis — one of five deputy chiefs, according to the SPD website — oversaw special operations and joined SPD in 1999. His department includes SWAT, hostage negotiations, the arson team and bombs, the port unit and the canine unit. He is the highest-ranking African-American officer in the department.

Davis was promoted by Diaz and replaced Eric Greening, who recently filed suit against the city of Seattle and Diaz, alleging he was retaliated against for speaking out about discrimination within the department and appearance of segregation. Greening also claimed that community outreach was done only by women and BIPOC officers.

Last week, Diaz’s supporters said accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination came from “disgruntled” employees who are “serial complainers.” Victoria Beach, Rev. Harriet Walden and Carmen Martinez made the statements during a 45-minute news conference on Beacon Hill because, they said, Diaz could not defend himself.

Diaz was hired as interim chief in September 2020 after the resignation of Carmen Best. Two years later, Harrell said he intended to appoint Diaz to the permanent position, and Diaz was sworn in on January. 12, 2023.

SPD continues to face staffing challenges, with a decline of more than 345 officers at last count, according to Seattle City Council President Sara Nelson, although the city offers large signing bonuses and a massive increase in overdue salaries. Last week, the city council approved a law aimed at streamlining recruiting.

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