Job not ensured
Lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee have called on Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to resign after he fired an employee who came forward with allegations about inappropriate behavior and comments from the commissioner earlier this year.
The Seattle Times first reported in April 2022 that Kreidler had made comments during a job interview for a high-level staff position that she considered racist. Other staff members also alleged that Kreidler had used slurs about a person of color and a derogatory term about transgender people.
In a statement, Inslee said that, despite Kreidler’s commitment to “learning and doing better,” the firing of a staff person who came forward about the commissioner’s behavior showed that he had not done so.
“Commissioner Kreidler assured his employees and the public he would work to improve his relationship with staff, but instead he terminated an employee who spoke out about these issues,” Inslee said. “All staff deserve respect regardless of their at-will status. Therefore it’s my belief we need different leadership in this position and I believe he should resign.”
Kreidler does not intend to step down, the Times reported. Voters have reelected Kreidler to office since 2001.
The King County Auditor recommended that the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) take steps to reduce racial disparities in use of force and arrests by collecting more data when law enforcement officers stop people while responding to a call for service. The office also suggested that the county “use lessons learned from other large metropolitan areas to increase the chances of success for a pilot of policing alternatives.”
KCSO takes approximately 350,000 calls for service each year, a number that includes 911 calls and calls begun by officers. However, the race of people who officers stopped was only recorded in 4 percent of cases.
The Auditor’s Office noted that King County code could limit when officers collect information on race but also wrote that the data entry system for calls for service doesn’t include a field that would allow officers to record the race of the person contacted.
Even in the small percentage of cases in which race was recorded, the Auditor’s Office found disparities in use of force and arrests.
“People and officers reported Black people as suspects and officers arrested Black people at rates nearly four times higher than expected given their proportion of the county population,” the report reads. “Few calls resulted in uses of force, however we found that, overall, White officers as a group used force twice as often as Black or Asian officers.”
Officers used force against Black and Hispanic people more often than against white people, the report reads.
Read more of the Jun 22-28, 2022 issue.