Neither victim nor martyr

Police chief Norman Stamper spins his own resignation.

IT WASN'T A YEAR of departmental turmoil, officer misconduct, or the WTO riots that made him do it.

"I don't accept the label of victim or martyr," Seattle's police chief of six years, Norman Stamper, said in announcing his resignation Tuesday. Simply, "I've reached the end of my career."

The 55-year-old top cop says he made up his mind to leave a month ago and planned to announce his retirement in January. He will now leave in March; that's when the city is supposed to complete its review of how the cops handled the wild demonstrations that effectively derailed the recent World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle. Up to 700 were arrested and as much as $20 million in damage, looting, and lost retail sales was reported from what some called both a protester and a police riot.

Though some critics have also called for Mayor Paul Schell's resignation, the first-term mayor said at a joint press conference with Stamper that he's staying put. "I'm not going to step down," the mayor said. He plans to see that "the whole community [gets] the facts" behind City Hall's WTO strategy that some see as a politically inspired failure of security planning.

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