SEATTLE—Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County today demanded that interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz immediately fire any SPD officers who took part in last week’s insurrection at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
BLM Seattle also called for the immediate resignation of Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) President Mike Solan for comments in which he blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for the riot that has so far left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.
In a tweet that echoed President Trump’s remark that there were “very fine people on both sides” of a 2017 neo-Nazi rally, Solan said, “Far right and far left are responsible” for the attack on the Capitol.
Two SPD officers have been placed on administrative leave following their identification in photos taken at the insurrection. Their involvement is being investigated. In a statement, Diaz said, “If any SPD officers were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, I will immediately terminate them.”
In a letter to Diaz, BLM Seattle said it was not surprised to see video of some Capitol Police officers removing barricades and allowing white nationalist terrorists into the building: “The legacy and supremacist ideals of slavery and Jim Crow are the root of America’s law enforcement today.” The full letter follows this release.
Under Solan’s leadership, SPOG was expelled from the MLK Labor union for failing to address racism in police ranks.
“Guild President Solan is incapable and unwilling to do the work that needs to be done to dismantle racism in the union,” BLM Seattle said. “His leadership perpetuates the problem rather than addressing it. He must resign.”
LETTER TO INTERIM POLICE CHIEF ADRIAN DIAZ
Dear Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz:
This past week the nation and indeed the world witnessed the living impact of America’s greatest national shame: white supremacy.
The legacy and supremacist ideals of slavery and Jim Crow are the root of America’s law enforcement today.
While many were stunned to see Capitol Police remove barricades and stand aside as white nationalist terrorists overran the building, those of us living in Black skin, and fighting for Black Lives were not. While many were stunned to see the blatant double-standard with which American law enforcement treats peaceful BLM protesters and violent, white terrorists, we were not.
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County was also unsurprised to learn that two SPD officers were involved in the insurrection, according to Seattle Times. This is the same department that filed to terminate its Consent Decree requirements for reform of unconstitutional use of force—then just a month later used excessive force against peaceful racial justice protesters.
The insurrection by white supremacists at the nation’s capital was premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, which is the definition of terrorism in Title 22 Chapter 38 U.S. Code § 2656.
Racism courses through the Department, from the behavior of individual officers to the tactics used against city residents.
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County demands that any Seattle Police Department employee who participated in the insurrection against the United States be immediately terminated.
Further, we demand you as the Department’s leader publicly acknowledge SPD’s racism problem and pledge to confront it aggressively.
What happened at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, was yet another in a string of attacks that have happened across the country in 2020.
In Seattle, peaceful protesters calling for police accountability were violently targeted by law enforcement, who then turned their back on threats by abandoning the East Precinct. Now, in Washington, D.C. we see video of some in law enforcement turning a blind eye as violent rioters ransacked the seat of American democracy.
It is all of a piece. It is all rooted in the racism that has plagued U.S. law enforcement from its beginnings, and continues today. President Trump—who was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union—has repeatedly encouraged violence by racist supporters and law enforcement. Rather than condemn the Proud Boys, he told them to “stand by.”
The racism Trump encourages did not arrive with him, and will not leave when he departs the White House.
At SPD, it can only be dismantled with an aggressive effort led by the chief and supported by the rank and file.
The issues outlined above are gravely concerning to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, to the nation, and to the world. We must have transparency, accountability, and understanding of law enforcement conduct in the United States.
We are calling on you now.
About Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County is a social advocacy organization fighting for the protection and liberation of Black Life through advocacy and direct action. BLM Seattle centers leadership on Black femmes, women, queer and trans people organizing and taking direct action to dismantle anti-black systems and policies of oppression.