Norm Stamper resigns as Seattle Police Chief on December 6, 1999, in wake of WTO unrest.

  • By Dave Wilma
  • Posted 1/01/2001
  • Essay 2144

On December 6, 1999, Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper announces that he will resign and that he takes full responsibility for the unrest which closed the Central Business District and disrupted World Trade Organization (WTO) talks that took place in Seattle from November 29 to December 3, 1999.

Stamper said that he had made up his mind a month ago that he would announce his retirement in January 2000, but that the events surrounding the WTO changed that timetable. Stamper hoped that his move would "depoliticize" the job of Chief of Police, as several investigations opened into police misconduct during the demonstrations surrounding the WTO meetings.

Stamper later wrote:

"But right now, I think it's appropriate for me to correct some misunderstandings about who was responsible for the WTO public-safety plan and the tactical decisions that affected law enforcement throughout the week.

"I am.

"The implication in some news stories and editorials that Mayor Schell intervened in or countermanded my recommendations or those of my assistant chiefs is entirely false. At no time did Mayor Schell overrule me or make any changes in the public safety plan, as some in the media have claimed" (The Seattle Times).

Chief Stamper served his last day on February 18, 2000.


Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 7, 1999, pp. A-1, A-6; The Seattle Times, December 27, 1999, p. B-5; Ibid., February 18, 2000, p. A-1.

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