WASHINGTON – The mayor of the City of Spokane, Washington, on Wednesday asked Rachel Dolezal to resign from a city commission after an investigation found she acted inappropriately while serving on the city’s Police Ombudsman Commission.
Dolezal is chair of the volunteer citizen Police Ombudsman Commission in Spokane, which is meant to provide independent citizen oversight of the Police Department.
Dolezal is facing controversy over allegations by her own parents that she misled people about her race. She stepped down as president of the local NAACP chapter on Monday amid the allegations.
Dolezal, 37, is accused in an independent report commissioned by the city of creating an intimidating workplace environment and with improperly revealing the names of people involved in police misconduct investigations during public meetings.
“If people are going to bring complaints forward, it needs to be kept confidential, and to break confidentiality is just flat out wrong,” Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart told reporters Wednesday.
Dolezal’s alleged misconduct stems from her time as a commissioner on Spokane’s volunteer Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, which is tasked with civilian oversight of police conduct.
“There were multiple occasions at open public meetings, that were recorded, where names of complainants were discussed in the open and they should have been confidential,” Stuckart said, calling on her to resign from the post.
Spokane Mayor David Condon termed the alleged misconduct “serious violation of the public trust” and said Dolezal and the other two commissioners named in the report have been asked to resign.
Dolezal has been at the center of a controversy over her racial identity since her parents alleged she is “Caucasian by birth,” and that she has been misrepresenting herself as black for years.
She also lost her job as an African studies instructor at a Washington university.
On Tuesday, in interviews with NBC News, Dolezal denied she had deceived anyone and said “I identify as black.”
Spokane’s Human Rights Commission passed a resolution on Tuesday night calling on Dozezal to resign from the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission.
“While we do not aim to judge the validity of allegations brought against you, we believe that the resulting controversy, as well as ongoing whistle-blower and ethics investigations, damage your ability to be an effective Chair or Commissioner,” the HRC said in a statement.
City officials said they are investigating whether Dolezal may have violated any city policy or code of ethics when she applied to lead the commission. The investigation was forwarded from the City Council to the City’s Ethics Commission Monday.
At Howard University, Dolezal had accused the school of denying her a teaching position because she was white.
During a deposition, Howard’s lawyers asked whether she had tried to mislead the admissions office with an essay focused on black history and identity, according to court documents reviewed by The Associated Press.