4 SPD Officers file lawsuit against SPD, Seattle over sexual harassment and gender discrimination

SEATTLE — Four female Seattle Police officers are suing SPD and the city over claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation.

The attorney representing officers Valarie Carson, Kame Spencer, Jean Gulpan, and Lauren Truscott Sumeer Singla tells KIRO7 the city had 60 days to respond to their initial lawsuit, but that never happened.

“We now have the ability to file a lawsuit and conduct our own discovery and our own depositions and then put this case in front of a jury,” Singla said.

Singla says his clients want to take their claims to a jury trial, meaning they could potentially receive more than the $5 million they originally sought out for. Singla says based on what his clients have shared with him, there is substantial evidence of sexism and misogyny within SPD. Two of the names mentioned in that lawsuit: Former Police Chief Adrian Diaz and current Lt. John O’Neill.

“That there was a pattern of harassment that was happening with these women who directly did not know each other and at times were pitted against each other,” Singla said.

Former Chief Diaz recently spoke to conservative talk show host Jason Rantz about the allegations against him and what all went down during his exit. During the interview, Diaz came out as gay and said the allegations from the women were false. Singla says some of the comments the former chief made strengthen the case of his clients.

“The first comment he made was just because you’re a gay man doesn’t mean you can’t be a misogynist. And that’s a true comment and we took that to heart. The 2nd thing that I noticed that the chief said was that he realized that the investigative process or the Office of Police Accountability process could be weaponized. That’s the claim that my clients are making is that exact process was weaponized against them. The frustrating part was he was the Chief of Police for 4 years. He knew that process was being weaponized. He did nothing about it,” Singla said.

KIRO7 reached out to SPD, the City Attorney’s Office as well as Mayor Bruce Harrell. The City Attorney’s Office says they cannot comment on active litigation. Mayor Harrell’s Office sent KIRO 7 this statement:

“We are unable to comment on active litigation. Working with interim Chief Rahr, Mayor Harrell remains committed to building a Seattle Police Department focused on keeping Seattle neighbors safe and ensuring women and people of all backgrounds can be successful and empowered leaders and members of the department.” – Mayor Bruce Harrell.

Singla believes not only does SPD need to be held accountable for their alleged culture, but he also thinks having a safer work environment for women officers creates a safer city.

“If we have our female officers within the police department who feel safe, who feel heard, who feel respected, we are going to have a safer community and that’s the goal,” Singla said.

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