By Paul Kiefer
In a Friday night post on the Seattle Police Department Blotter blog, interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz confirmed that two officers were in Washington, D.C. during the riots at the US Capitol on Wednesday, though he could not confirm whether the officers took part in the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building. Diaz wrote that SPD referred the two officers to the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) for further investigation; the OPA will review whether the officers violated SPD policy and whether their actions could merit criminal charges.
“If any SPD officers were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” he added, “I will immediately terminate them.” For the time being, the two officers are on administrative leave.
OPA Director Andrew Myerberg confirmed the news on Friday, adding that the department learned the officers had been in D.C. through posts on a social media account. The two officers already under investigation were not on duty on Wednesday; Myerberg told PubliCola that they were either furloughed or used vacation days; both are patrol officers. He also noted that the OPA is “looking into the identities of other SPD employees who may have attended,” though he did not confirm that more than two officers were present in D.C.
Despite claims from MSNBC contributor and former Seattle city council candidate Naveed Jamali that the officers were a couple, SPD has not confirmed any relationship between the two officers.
The announcement comes only hours after retired SPD Chief Carmen Best, Mayor Jenny Durkan and regular SPD ally Scott Lindsay joined calls for Seattle Police Officers’ Guild president Mike Solan to apologize or resign in response to tweets in which Solan appeared to blame Black Lives Matter activists for the attack on the U.S. Capitol. “As someone who has fought for police reform and defended Seattle Police against defunding,” Lindsay wrote in a tweet on Friday afternoon, “I have a duty to call out when the head of their union spreads misinformation about the Capitol attack.” A subsequent statement from Durkan called Solan’s claims “wrong [and] immoral,” adding that they expect the OPA to investigate Solan for the tweets; the OPA will now treat the mayor’s statement as a complaint to be reviewed.
Both officers under investigation by the OPA are SPOG members.