Embattled Phoenix police chief says he won't step down

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Embattled Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia on Wednesday addressed the controversy that has engulfed his administration: the suicide death of former Phoenix Police Officer Craig Tiger earlier this month.

"The death of Officer Craig Tiger came as an emotional shock, not only for the Tiger family, his friends, our department and the chief of police," Garcia told 3TV's Mike Watkiss.

In a suicide note, Tiger, and now a growing number of other people, laid part of the blame on Garcia. The chief fired Tiger from the department a year ago because of a DUI, despite the fact that Tiger had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following a shooting which left a civilian dead.

"When I heard that, I had to ... reflect on the same question you have just given me: What responsibility did I have in this?" Garcia said. "And I reflected very strongly over this."

But Garcia stands by his decision to fire Tiger.

"I will tell you this: when I terminated Craig Tiger, Craig Tiger didn't appeal that termination. He was represented by the police union. As a matter of fact, he was represented by the union president, Joe Clure, and the union did not appeal that termination either. I think that speaks very loudly," Garcia said.

The chief also said unions calling for a no confidence vote are playing politics with Tiger's death.

"I think that they are using this for political gains, and the fact is that police unions should exist for the well being of the organization, not the destruction of it," Garcia said.

As far as the police chief leaving his post, he said that's not going to happen.

I want the citizens of Phoenix to understand I am the chief of police for the city of Phoenix," he said, "and I have no intentions of going anywhere."


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