Chief Daniel V. Garcia, Phoenix’s police chief for the past two years, has been fired by city manager Ed Zuercher for insubordination, after disobeying an order not to give a statement. Garcia has been embroiled in numerous controversies during his two year stint as Phoenix police chief. He previously served in Dallas, Texas, for 33 years.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Garcia told reporters in his news conference, “If I’m to be terminated for upholding the highest policing standards, that will be a first in policing and a disgrace to our city. Our city management needs to decide whether the police department is to be run by the unions or this police chief.”
City Manager Zuercher told reporters in a news conference following Garcia’s that he hadn’t planned on firing Chief Daniel V. Garcia.
‘We don’t hold press conferences without communication between departments and the city manager’s office,” Zuercher said.
Garcia’s overall performance and his handling of a recent fatal police shooting of an unarmed man were just one of many issues criticized by the local police union, a city councilman, and city residents, reports the New York Times. Two police unions were in the process of gathering no-confidence votes on the chief.
Union officials were especially worried about Garcia’s handling of a former officer named Craig Tiger who, apparently haunted by an incident in which he fatally shot a suspect wielding a bat, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, fired from his job after a drunk driving arrest, and then committed suicide. This incident was reported by the Inquisitr.
A recent post on the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association’s website, titled “Chief Garcia’s Good Ol’ Boy Network,” accused Garcia of “totalitarian management strategies” intended to “ensure loyalty from the group out of fear of retaliation.” Most of the posts on the site’s main page were dedicated to criticizing the chief, reported the New York Times.
Garcia also earned criticism from at least one city council member when he didn’t attend a two-hour council meeting Wednesday, in which residents “voiced concerns about law enforcement and community engagement,” according to Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who called the absence troubling.
“His policies have resulted in a severe drop in morale among our rank-and-file police officers,” DiCiccio said in a statement Thursday, adding in a message on Twitter that he was “pleased” by the firing. “That drop in morale has an impact on how our officers do their jobs and how they protect our citizens.”