Seattle Police Chief Frank Ramon resigns amidst scandal on October 8, 1969.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 8/08/2000
  • Essay 2597

On October 8, 1969, Seattle Police Chief Frank C. Ramon (1914-1986) retires after a palace revolt by top police commanders. Three assistant police chiefs object to Ramon's interference in a gambling investigation that exposed corruption. Seattle Mayor Floyd Miller (1902-1985) asks for and receives Ramon's resignation, effective November 5, 1969.

Illegal Gambling at the Lifeline Bingo Parlor

The mayor had appointed the three assistant chiefs, Frank Moore, George Fuller, and A. C. Gustin, in December 1968, as part of a departmental reorganization.

In August 1969, Gustin and Fuller staged a raid on the Lifeline Bingo Parlor in Seattle without Ramon's knowledge. The operation revealed that gambling, illegal under state law, was openly taking place and further, that the operator had made large payments to political figures.

Ramon Protects the Gamblers

Ramon ordered that the defendants be released from jail and that no further raids take place. Gustin reported (apparently erroneously) that he was then approached with an offer of a bribe to curtail the investigation. The three assistant chiefs gave Ramon and the mayor an ultimatum: either Ramon resigns or they would request reassignments back to their permanent ranks of captain.

Resignation it was. With an election coming up in November 1969, a new mayor would have replaced him. Besides, with 28 years of service, he was eligible to retire. In 1971, Ramon was indicted along with 16 others for complicity in the scandal. He was alleged to have received liquor from operators of gambling establishments. Charges against him were dismissed before trial because he had testified before a grand jury under a grant of immunity.


Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 275; "Asst. Chiefs Deny Link Between Recent Events," The Seattle Times, October 10, 1969, p. 4; David Suffia, "Ramon Termed 'Good Cop,'" Ibid., October 10, 1969, p. 4; Ross Cunningham, "Younger Police Officers' Putsch Toppled Ramon," Ibid., October 10, 1969, p. 10; William J. Chambliss, On The Take: From Petty Crooks to Presidents (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978), 128-129; "Frank Ramon Controversial Police Chief of 1960s, Dies," The Seattle Times, July 29, 1986, p. D-2.

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