Seattle mayor backtracks on lighter officer discipline

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by Associated Press and KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 24, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 24 at 8:54 PM

SEATTLE  -- Mayor Ed Murray now says he was wrong to support a decision by Seattle's police chief to erase a misconduct finding against an officer who threatened a journalist.

Officer John Marion was initially given a one-day suspension for threatening Dominic Holden, an editor at the Stranger, an alternative weekly newspaper, after Holden stopped to take photographs of police activity in a public area.

But interim Seattle Police Chief Harry Bailey lifted the suspension and erased the misconduct finding from the officer's record, imposing training requirements instead. In a news conference on Friday, the mayor repeatedly said he supported that decision.

After hearing concerns from the public, though, Murray apologized and reversed course, announcing on Monday that he was reinstating the original finding.

"Overturning the finding of misconduct was a mistake. It sent the wrong message to our officers and to the public," Murray said during a Monday news conference. " I am restating the finding of misconduct to the Marion case."

Murray said Bailey's intent was to give an education-based discipline, but it was not handled correctly.

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