Adrian Diaz, out as Seattle Police Chief, former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr is in

SEATTLE — There is a major shakeup in Seattle’s Police Department.

An emotional Adrian Diaz announcing he is out as police chief.

The bombshell announcement comes less than a year and a half into Diaz’s permanent tenure as chief. Diaz and the Seattle police department were being battered by allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell says it was time for a change.

This change is not sitting well with a lot of Diaz’s supporters. And he has a lot of them. He has lived the mantra of community policing long before it was a buzzword.

So, his sudden departure has left a lot of them in tears.

“I want to thank the men and women of the Seattle Police Department for their hard work,” said Diaz, his voice breaking.

The devastation of this moment was evident for outgoing Seattle Police Adrian Diaz. After all, just 16 months ago, he was finally sworn in as Seattle’s top cop, having served as the city’s interim chief since 2020.

So, the weight of the decision to oust him seemed finally too much.

“And the community that has supported us through every challenge,” Diaz said, walking away, tearfully. “Thank you.”

“Very sad,” said Victoria Beach, her voice, breaking, too. “It’s unbelievable.”

Chief among his supporters, longtime activist Beach.

“Being part of the department,” she said, “how can I defend this police department and bring people in?”

The handwriting may have simply been on the wall. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said talk among his executive staff about replacing Diaz began a month ago. As allegations of sexual harassment and racial incidents continued to pile up.

“There was not one event, one straw that broke the camel’s back to use your description,” Harrell said. “Given the amount of litigation that has persisted. Given the amount of interviews we’re having right now. Looking at one of the gender discrimination claims or harassment, we ask ourselves openly and honestly. And if we’re really committed to culture change as we say we are, should we make strategic changes?”

A couple of Seattle City Councilmembers at the news conference threw their support behind the mayor, Rob Saka and Tanya Woo.

And Sue Rahr talked about her immediate plans for the department, including a listening tour in the community and with the rank and file. She begins her new job Thursday morning at 9.

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