- SEATTLE (Reuters) - Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper
is planning to resign and says he takes full responsibility for the police
handling of the violent protests that disrupted last week's World Trade
Organization meeting, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on Tuesday.
- The newspaper said in its Internet edition that Stamper
sent a letter to Mayor Paul Schell on Monday announcing his decision to
step down at the end of March after six years as chief. The paper reported
that Schell accepted the resignation.
- Stamper said in an interview with the newspaper that
he would stay on through March so he could help investigators sort out
how police lost control of the demonstrations and could speak freely in
- He was quoted as saying that he had made up his mind
last month that he would announce his retirement in January, but the events
of last week changed his timetable.
- Stamper and Schell have been criticized for being unprepared
for the massive demonstrations that rocked the west coast city during the
world trade talks.
- A small group of protesters smashed store windows and
battled with police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets. The mayhem
led the mayor to impose an overnight curfew that was followed by a heavily
criticized police crackdown when at least 450 protesters were arrested.
- "I certainly do accept full responsibility that
our officers did not get all the support they needed and deserve,"
Stamper told the Post-Intelligencer. "As the chief, it's fundamentally
important for people to understand that we knew this was going to be big.
We knew that there was a potential for violence and destructive behavior."
- Stamper was also quoted in the interview as saying that
the chaos in Seattle's streets last Tuesday nearly caused President Clinton
to cancel his trip to the city to speak to WTO delegates.