Interim Seattle Police Chief James Pugel announced that Assistant Chief Nick Metz has been removed from his position and demoted to captain.
The news of the demotion went out in an internal memo from Pugel Wednesday afternoon.
During some of the biggest investigations in the last ten years, Metz has often been, at least publicly, the face of SPD.
In the memo, Pugel wrote, "Out of consideration for the involved employees, I had hoped to make these announcements on December 2nd, but owing to rumors and disclosures that did not originate from my office I offer the following information via this internal communication.
I have asked Assistant Chief Nick Metz to return to his civil service rank of Captain."
Pugel demoted another assistant chief earlier this week. In an interview with Linda Byron Tuesday, he hinted there could be more changes.
"Every chief I have ever worked for has made changes," Pugel said. "Change is inevitable. It's not static. Personnel changes? Could be."
In a statement sent to SPD staff, Metz talked about the change in leadership.
"I have been recently informed that, effective December 2nd, I will not be part of that team.
I will continue to serve this City with the same level of care and professionalism that I promised when I took my oath over thirty years
Late today, Metz sent a text message saying "I did not make this decision. It was made for me."
Neither Metz nor Pugel cited a reason for the demotion, but a recent report by the federal monitor, Merrick Bob, overseeing reforms in the department cited resistance to reforms by the top ranks.
One can only guess that this demotion is in response to that report.