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May 24, 2011
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3 Seattle officers suspended for 'gutter language'

Chief imposes harsh suspensions for profanity used during traffic stop of two suspected gang members last year

By Steve Miletich
Seattle Times

SEATTLE - In another sign that he expects professional behavior, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz has imposed harsh suspensions on three East Precinct officers over their use of "gutter language" during a traffic stop of two suspected gang members last year, according to records disclosed Tuesday.

The chief's discipline — 20 days off without pay for two of the officers and 15 for the other — drew a tempered response from Sgt. Rich O'Neill, president of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild, who said that though the suspensions might be too severe the officers should not have used the language.

"The chief has said he is not tolerating profanity," he said Tuesday, and is trying to "send a message" that such language is unacceptable unless there is a good reason.

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