Seattle Police Officer Fired for Racist Tirade Against Neighbor

Seattle Police Officer Fired for Racist Tirade Against Neighbor
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Racist Remarks by Seattle Police Officer Lead to Termination

In a trou­bling inci­dent, Seat­tle police offi­cer Bur­ton Hill was fired fol­low­ing a record­ed alter­ca­tion with his neigh­bor, Zhen Jin, a Chi­nese Amer­i­can woman. The inci­dent, which occurred off-duty, involved a dis­pute over dog bone dis­pos­al at their con­do­mini­um complex.

A record­ing obtained by the Chi­nese Infor­ma­tion and Ser­vice Cen­ter cap­tured Hill using deroga­to­ry lan­guage tar­get­ing both Jin’s race and gen­der. He also threat­ened her with arrest.

The Seat­tle Office of Police Account­abil­i­ty (OPA) inves­ti­gat­ed the inci­dent and rec­om­mend­ed dis­ci­pli­nary action, rang­ing from sus­pen­sion to ter­mi­na­tion. Seat­tle Police Chief Adri­an Diaz ulti­mate­ly decid­ed to fire Hill in May 2024, cit­ing the sever­i­ty of his con­duct and the depart­men­t’s com­mit­ment to professionalism.

This ter­mi­na­tion comes dur­ing a peri­od of self-eval­u­a­tion for the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment. In late May, law­suits alleg­ing a dis­crim­i­na­to­ry and unwel­com­ing envi­ron­ment for women and peo­ple of col­or led to Chief Diaz’s removal by May­or Bruce Harrell.

Holding Officers Accountable for Discrimination

This case high­lights the crit­i­cal need for police account­abil­i­ty, even for off-duty actions. By fir­ing Hill, the Seat­tle PD sends a mes­sage of zero tol­er­ance for dis­crim­i­na­to­ry behav­ior. Offi­cers are expect­ed to uphold high stan­dards of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and treat all com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers with respect.

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