Police commander demoted over Seattle protest blames racism

SEATTLE (AP) — A recently demoted Seattle police commander is suing the city of Seattle and interim police Chief Adrian Diaz, alleging discrimination and unfair blame for a flashpoint “pink umbrella incident” during police clashes with racial justice demonstrators. The Seattle Times reports Capt. Steve Hirjak contends that Diaz and punished him unfairly compared to other white officials and made him the scapegoat for the misconduct of another commander who ordered riot-gear-clad officers to unleash tear gas and blast balls into a crowd on June 1, 2020. The incident happened after an officer’s tug of war with a protester over a pink umbrella. City attorney’s office spokesperson Dan Nolte says Hirjak’s claims are being fully investigated.