Port of Seattle police chief Rod Covey has been placed on paid administrative leave during an ongoing investigation into his workplace conduct, Port officials announced Tuesday.
The investigation is unrelated to Covey’s response last month to a port officer who posted a video of himself in uniform questioning why law enforcement should enforce social-distancing protocols, port spokesman Peter McGraw said.
In a widely-watched video posted May 7, Officer Greg Anderson argued citing or arresting people in relation to what he called “tyrannical” social-distancing orders violate constitutional rights. Covey placed Anderson on paid administrative leave and wrote a lengthy response on the Port police’s Facebook page to Anderson’s many supporters, including some who raised nearly $500,000 for the officer to seek legal action against the port.
Citing a desire to respect the privacy of all parties, McGraw declined to specify the allegations against Covey that led to his being placed on leave. “These are workplace responsibility complaints that are directly related to allegations regarding the treatment of employees under the Port’s employment policies and Code of Conduct,” he wrote in an email.
Deputy Chief Michael Villa will serve as acting chief until further notice. Villa joined the Port of Seattle Police Department in 2017 after serving 27 years with the Tukwila Police Department, the last six as its chief.