Seattle PD stomping video a 'big factor' in chief search

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by LINDA BRILL and TRICIA MANNING-SMITH / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 7, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 4:43 PM

Poll:
Do you think officers went too far?

SEATTLE – Candidates vying to become Seattle's next police chief are walking into their interviews Saturday as the department is embroiled in a racial controversy.

Video shot April 17 has been released, showing a gang unit detective stomping on a young Latino man's arm, possibly kicking him in the head and yelling what could be interpreted as a racial slur.

All nine candidates for the police chief job, including Interim Chief John Diaz, who is Latino himself, will be interviewed by a citizen's committee. The videotape will be discussed.

"Let me make this clear. Anytime the use of a racial slur, there is no excuse for it in any way shape or form," said Diaz on Friday.

The chief says he hasn't seen the tape yet because, if officers are disciplined, he'll be the one to do it. He says he wants to be careful about how he considers the evidence.

Long-time latino activist Roberto Maestas is the only Latino on that 25 person search committee.

"There ain't no doubt about it. It's going to be a big factor," said Maestas. He says he'll bring the video to Saturday's meeting and ask each candidate how they would deal with the incident. "The committee is going to be more attentive to how the new chief of police is going to deal with misconduct, with racial misconduct."

Calling the video deeply disturbing, Mayor Mike McGinn says the tape points out the need for chief who focuses on human rights.

"I think it's fair to say this should have been and should be a priority in any selection in a diverse city like ours," said McGinn.

The other eight candidates for the job are:

  • Clark Kimerer, Deputy Chief of Seattle Police
  • Jim Pugel, Assistant Chief of Seattle Police
  • Anne Kirkpatrick, Chief of Spokane Police
  • Rick Braziel, Chief of Sacramento, Calif. Police
  • Ronald Davis, Chief of East Palo Alto, Calif. Police
  • Rick Gregory, Chief Administrative Officer/Acting Public Safety Director for New Castle County, Del.
  • John Romero, Chief of Lawrence, Mass. Police
  • Lisa Womack, Former Chief of Elgin, Ill. Police

The citizens committee will narrow down its selection to three candidates by Tuesday. The mayor will pick one of them in the first week of June.

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