Mayor Ed Murray, rocked by a storm of criticism over his decision to go along with interim Police Chief Harry’s Bailey’s initial resolve not to slap Officer John Marion with misconduct, has changed his mind. But still, the cop, who in July was involved with a confrontation with an editor at The Stranger, will not be suspended.
Murray and Bailey huddled over the weekend and figured that a course correction was badly needed. As a result, Murray spokeswoman Rosalind Brazel tells Seattle Weekly this morning, Marion will “have a misconduct finding on his record and will do a day of training.”
But he will not lose any time off from work.
“Officer Marion agreed that this was the best possible result,” says Brazel.
Marion’s decision to accept the misconduct finding was announced this morning by Bailey at a news briefing. It is unclear whether it was Marion’s idea, as stated in an early version of the Seattle Times story on the matter, or if it came as a result of Murray’s intervention.
The reinstatement comes three days after Murray sided with Bailey’s reversal of a one-day suspension, agreeing that training was a better way to deal with they bad conduct.
“After hearing the public’s concerns about Chief Bailey’s decision to change the discipline in the Marion case, I have directed Chief Bailey to reinstate the original finding,” Murray said in a statement. “Chief Bailey and I have had extensive discussions about this case. We both agree: this was a mistake.
“The decision to change the discipline was the call of the Chief. But I stood with the Chief and publicly supported that decision. And I am Mayor: the buck stops with me. So, this mistake was mine. And today I am fixing that mistake.”
Murray went on to say that Bailey was correct in his decision to pursue a day of training. “But we did not sufficiently make our case to the public. And because of how we handled it, our actions do not look like reform to members of the public. To many, our actions look like the opposite of reform. So we have some work to do. “
The mayor added, “But it cannot be overstated: Chief Bailey mislead no one. He does not harbor high ambitions or a hidden agenda. Chief Bailey is a man of integrity, whom I coaxed out of retirement in order to help me and the department on the road to reform.
“Chief Bailey does not need this job – this job needs him. He is performing a public service, and he is performing it with honor. The smears against his character and his integrity are beneath the dignity of this city, and they must stop.”