The January 6th insurrection in Washington, D.C. was an attack against our democracy fueled by white supremacy. It demonstrated the worst of America. While the CPC has always stood for the civil liberties of our community, especially to protest, this was something utterly different – this was an act of terror.
Any officers’ participation in the insurrection is concerning. However, the fact that at least two Seattle police officers broke Washington DC law and Seattle Police Department (SPD) policy while insurrectionists attacked the seat of our democracy is inexcusable.
We are thankful for the thorough investigation conducted by the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) and urge Chief Adrian Diaz to act on the OPA’s findings.
We must address extremism within the ranks.
The concerns raised by the CPC and many other organizations about extremism within the ranks of SPD are serious. Of the 31 police officers from across the nation known to be at the Capitol that day, 6 are Seattle Police officers – more than any other police department in the country.
Soon after the attack on the Capitol, the CPC asked Chief Adrian Diaz how SPD plans to investigate and address extremism within the department’s ranks. While the Department of Defense, Houston Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies across the country have publicized plans to address this issue, SPD’s plans remain unclear.
The extent of SPD officers’ involvement in the insurrection is a wake-up call. The CPC demands SPD transparently and aggressively address extremism within the ranks.
We need full implementation of the landmark Accountability Ordinance.
While OPA was able to thoroughly investigate five of the six SPD officers at the scene of this attack, one officer refused orders to comply with the investigation and produce records. Hiding critical information like this undermines Seattle’s police disciplinary system and the community’s faith in law enforcement oversight.
One of the key reforms in the landmark Accountability Ordinance was the ability for OPA to subpoena necessary records. Unfortunately, that was one of the dozens of reforms rolled back by the latest police contracts. This demonstrates why it is so important we fully implement the Accountability Ordinance in the upcoming collective bargaining process.