The Seattle Police Department (SPD) and the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) are continuing to investigate reports that two SPD officers were in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 6, when Trump supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol.
SPD Interim Chief Adrian Diaz released the following statement Friday:
"Today the Seattle Police Department was made aware that at least two of its officers were reportedly in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. The Department fully supports all lawful expressions of First Amendment freedom of speech, but the violent mob and events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol were unlawful and resulted in the death of another police officer. The incident has been forwarded to the Office of Police Accountability for full review of any SPD employee activities at the U.S. Capitol.
The OPA will investigate whether any SPD policies were violated and if any potential illegal activities need to be referred for criminal investigation. If any SPD officers were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, I will immediately terminate them. While OPA investigates, these officers have been placed on administrative leave."
Diaz addressed the reports during a news conference Monday, where he defended his quick action to put the officers in question on leave last week.
"People might question like, did I come out too quick, you know, because we didn't have everything and the officers might not have done anything wrong. That very well could be, but I feel after Wednesday and seeing something that to me was unprecedented in our history, I couldn't just let it go," said Diaz.
KING 5 Law Enforcement Analyst and former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said Monday an investigation into the two officers’ level of involvement at the Capitol is critical.
"It erodes public trust if people believe that officers would be engaged in what was clearly illegal activity and an insurrection on the Capitol building or had any involvement,” said Best. “We don't have any evidence of that yet, but we don't have any evidence to say that did not happen either."
Members of the Community Police Commission (CPC) released a statement that said in part that they are requesting internal communications sent within SPD regarding what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. CPC wants to make sure SPD policies and practices are meeting the communities‘ expectations.
KING 5 reached out to the Seattle Police Officers Guild about the investigation, but did not immediately hear back.
Naveed Jamali, a Seattle-based editor-at-large for Newsweek, tweeted Friday that the two officers in question "are a husband and wife who posted social media pictures of themselves, along side a third former SPD officer in the nations capital on Jan 6. While there is no evidence they participated in any criminal activity, it is unclear they reported it to their CoC." (Chain of Command) [sic]
KING 5 has not independently confirmed Jamali's reporting, but his digging was enough for Chief Diaz to place the two officers on administrative leave.