With Mayor Mike McGinn expected to soon announce his choice for Seattle's next top cop, finalist and interim Seattle police chief John Diaz has come under fire for the second time in as many months. Just last week, the department rank and file recommended him for the job. Now, the day after video was released showing a Seattle police officer punching a young woman in the face, some local activists are calling for Diaz to step down.
Standing before a podium at the Seattle Urban League headquarters, a group of community activists and local pastors took Diaz to task for what they called his officer's disregard for proper procedure. At issue was whether it is ever acceptable for a police officer to punch a 17-year-old female, and whether the officer followed procedure when he tried to resolve an escalating situation without backup. The consensus answer was an emphatic "No."
But unlike most of the others in the room, King County NAACP President James Bible came right out and said that he hopes Diaz will step aside. The NAACP did not participate in the police chief selection process, he says. Nor is the organization endorsing Diaz's competitor for the job, Chief Ron Davis. But Bible says that he was "shocked and appalled" that Diaz was named a finalist. On his watch, police have shown a disregard for their training, says Bible. As such, Bible says a "change needs to happen."
Meanwhile, across town, the SPD held its own press conference. According to the Seattle Times report Deputy Chief Nick Metz says that the department would be withholding judgment until the Office of Professional Accountability's investigation of the incident is complete.
Of course that didn't stop him from passing judgment on the women involved. The two bear much of the responsibility for the incident, said Metz. According to Urban League president James Kelly both are foster children and cannot afford private representation. Both are scheduled to appear in court today for an initial hearing.