KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Ursula: Being gay has no bearing on allegations against former SPD Chief Diaz

Jun 18, 2024, 4:44 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2024, 9:48 am

seattle spd lawsuit...

Adrian Diaz addresses the press at a news conference on Wednesday, May 29, 2024 after Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced Diaz has been removed from his position as Seattle Police Chief. (Image courtesy of The Seattle Channel)

(Image courtesy of The Seattle Channel)

In his first interview since he stepped down as the city’s top cop, former Seattle Police Department (SPD) Chief Adrian Diaz publicly came out as gay. He wants to make sure people understand who he really is and keeping his sexual orientation under wraps is something he’s struggled with for the past four years.

I can’t imagine what it feels like to not be able to live your truth and I hope that Diaz feels like a burden has been lifted now that he’s no longer keeping that secret.

But that’s not his only struggle.

During that same time, Diaz has also been the embattled chief of a police department that is suffering from historically low staffing, poor morale, and scandals. In the past year, Diaz has been hit with lawsuits and claims from women who accuse him of sexual harassment, misconduct, misogyny and gender discrimination.

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

In his exclusive interview with “The Jason Rantz Show” on KTTH, Diaz said he hasn’t had the opportunity to share his side of the story.  And he believes if people knew the truth about him being gay, we would understand how the allegations couldn’t also be true. (Even though he also acknowledged that being gay doesn’t mean you can’t be a misogynist).

What he said in this interview is mind-blowing to me! Diaz wants us to believe that all these women at SPD are making up their allegations because he is gay and wouldn’t have an interest in them. As far as everyone knew, until yesterday, he was married and has three children. What he was feeling internally doesn’t absolve him from what those women were feeling because of his external actions. The disclosure of his sexual orientation changes absolutely nothing about these cases. It also doesn’t explain some of the other issues that have been raised about his leadership style or the actions of others on his leadership team.

Rantz Exclusive: Former Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz announces he’s gay

So why did he only make this announcement to one talk show host instead of having a news conference? It’s clearly a tactic to control the message and to avoid any follow-up questions that other reporters will have. Diaz said his decision to step down was made together with Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, who opted not to wait for an independent investigation to be completed. The mayor named former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr as interim chief while Diaz will work on unspecified special assignments.

Rantz asked whether anyone in the mayor’s administration pressured him NOT to come out publicly. Diaz’s answer was vague, saying it’s something that will be discussed at a later time. He then went on to say he’s had an immense amount of support from the community but also predicts there will be people who will try to “de-gay” or “un-gay” him because it doesn’t fit their narrative.  Then he finally admitted that yes, he got pushback from the mayor’s office but he wants to move forward for his and the community’s sake.

More from Ursula Reutin: The outside investigation of SPD can’t come soon enough

Does this mean that Diaz will make a claim against the city or get a payout to leave? I hope not but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s in the pipeline. Seattle taxpayers are already on the hook for so many of SPD’s issues, so just add this to the list.

Diaz is now vying for the police chief job in Austin, Texas. He’s one of more than 30 candidates. Austin better do its homework.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m.- noon on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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