MYNORTHWEST NEWS

‘Discriminatory practices’: Seattle police captain sues city, Chief Adrian Diaz

May 21, 2024, 5:20 PM | Updated: 5:26 pm

Image: Seattle Chief of Police Adrian Diaz, left, and Seattle Police Department Captain Eric Greeni...

Seattle Chief of Police Adrian Diaz, left, and Seattle Police Department Captain Eric Greening sit in separate images. (Photos courtesy of the City of Seattle)

(Photos courtesy of the City of Seattle)

A former finalist for the job of chief of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) filed a discrimination lawsuit Monday against the city of Seattle and the man who won the job, Chief Adrian Diaz.

Captain Eric Greening, a 30-year veteran of the department is alleging that Diaz retaliated against him for reporting “discriminatory practices within SPD to Chief Diaz and others in the Department,” the lawsuit says. (The lawsuit can be viewed as a PDF here.)

The retaliatory actions include “rejecting Mr. Greening’s applications for the positions of Deputy Chief and Assistant Chief; abolishing the Collaborative Policing Bureau, which Mr. Greening led; demoting Mr. Greening from his position as an Assistant Chief to the rank of Captain; and transferring Mr. Greening to the Force Review Unit, where he oversees a small number of staff members and has no direct contact with the public,” the lawsuit reads.

Greening is claiming the actions have resulted in financial damages in the form of “lower pay, loss of reputation, diminution of future career opportunities, and emotional distress.”

Recent coverage: Seattle mayor hires firm to probe SPD sexual harassment, discrimination claims

It’s the third lawsuit against Diaz involving racial and sex discrimination going back to when he was named interim chief in September 2020 following the resignation of Chief Carmen Best.   He was named permanent chief two years later.

Greening was serving as assistant chief of the SPD’s Special Operations Bureau, overseeing SWAT, the Hostage Negotiation Team, Harbor Patrol and other special units when Diaz became interim chief.

Less than a year into the interim role, Diaz assigned Greening to the Police Collaborative Policing Bureau and remined there until July 2023. He also served as acting chief during that time according to the lawsuit.

The complaint says Greening was the only Black sworn member of SPD’s command staff from August 2020 until July 2023.

The lawsuit says Greening brought several issues of “discrimination and disparate treatment within the SPD to the attention of Chief Diaz; Rebecca McKechnie, human resources manager for the SPD; and Dr. Amarah Khan, executive director of the Office of the Employee Ombud for Seattle.

He allegedly told Diaz about the “appearance of segregation” within SPD because the responsibility of community outreach was being “solely on female and BIPOC officers.”

‘SPD is dying’: What Seattle police officers are saying during exit interviews

Greening filed a complaint with the Lisa Judge, inspector general with the Seattle Office of Inspector General (OIG) for Public Safety in September 2023 and that investigation is still open.

The lawsuit is asking for compensatory damages including reputational harm and emotional distress.

We are have reached out to SPD for a comment and have not heard anything back at the time this story was published.

Matt Markovich often covers the state legislature and public policy for KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of Matt’s stories here. Follow him on X or email him here.

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