Sequim: New police chief’s past involved racism, brutality complaints against department

SEQUIM — Accusations of police brutality and racism scarred Ken Burge’s last years as chief in Glendale, Colo.

While Burge, selected this week as Sequim’s next police chief, was never implicated, his department and the city of Glendale were the target of nine civil lawsuits filed in 1999 stemming from police confrontations with tavern patrons.

The city made undisclosed payments to settle eight of the cases out of court.

Sequim City Manager Bill Elliott said Wednesday that he was aware Burge’s former department had been sued for police brutality and accused of racism.

Elliott has named Burge, 51, to succeed Byron C. Nelson as the city’s next police chief.

Burge is expected to start his new position before Oct. 1.

In a telephone interview Wednesday from his Colorado home, Burge accepted responsibility for the actions of his officers.

“It happened on my watch, and I’m responsible. There’s absolutely no excuse for what happened,” Burge said.

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The rest of the story appears in the Thursday Peninsula Daily News. Click on SUBSCRIBE to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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