By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin
Seattle, WA – Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz fired two officers who an investigation determined got too close to the U.S. Capitol building on the day of the riot.
The investigation into now-former Seattle Police Officers Alexander Everett and Caitlin Everett began after another officer notified the department that the couple had been in Washington, DC on Jan. 6, the Seattle Times reported.
The Seattle Office of Police Accountability (OPA) launched an internal investigation into the officers’ trip on Jan. 8.
“A member of SPD notified their chain of command that photos on social media showed several two SPD officers apparently in Washington, D.C., the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol building,” Chief Diaz said in a press release at the time.
Chief Diaz said the photos were forwarded to him on the night of Jan. 7, and that he subsequently shared them with OPA Director Andrew Myerberg the same night.
“When I referred it to OPA, it was not apparent exactly where the photo was taken, or if those in the photo took any part in attacking the Capitol,” the chief noted. “I placed the identified officers on administrative leave because of the significance of what occurred in Washington, D.C.”
“When it was clear an investigation would be needed to determine if they did or did not participate in the violent events or any violations of federal law, I decided it was essential to our commitment to transparency and enhancing public trust that we share this information with the community,” Chief Diaz added.
The chief noted that both officers were off duty and were not in uniform when they visited the nation’s capital city, and said those actions alone “violates no policy or law.”
“I do not want to limit anyone’s ability to lawfully participate in First Amendment activities,” he claimed, just before he attempted to rationalize his decision to place the officers on leave without any evidence they had done anything wrong.
“The large number of people who forced their way into the Capitol, connected to the earlier political rally, presented too much of an unknown about whether any of our employees had potentially violated federal law,” Chief Diaz reasoned. “That is why I had to act.”
The chief said he asked the OPA to conduct an investigation into his officers “out of an abundance of caution” due to “the seriousness of what took place” at the Capitol.
He vowed to fire the officers in the event OPA found “any evidence” they were “directly involved” in the rioting, and said any such findings will also be shared with federal officials.
Officer Everett and Officer Everett married each other in December of 2020 and were on their honeymoon in the nation’s capital during the Capitol riot, according to a tweet by the anti-police group DefundSPD.
On Friday, Chief Diaz announced in a statement he was going to fire the couple based on the findings of the investigation, KIRO reported.
“The two officers were found to have crossed the outdoor barriers established by the Capitol Police and were directly next to the Capitol Building,” the statement read. “Clear evidence places them directly next to the Capitol Building. It is beyond absurd to suggest that they did not know they were in an area where they should not be, amidst what was already a violent, criminal riot.”
Chief Diez called the Capitol riot “an attack on our profession and on every officer across the country.”
“Make no mistake: as a result of the events on January 6th, five Capitol police officers have lost their lives,” the statement read. ”More than a hundred officers sustained serious injuries – some career-ending – through outright assault. Hundreds more, across all agencies called to respond, bear the physical and emotional scars of that day.”
The chief called the fired officers “a stain on our department.”
Then he apologized on behalf of the Seattle Police Department to the U.S. Capitol Police, the DC Metropolitan police, the Virginia State Police and all the other law enforcement agencies who responded to the U.S. Capitol complex on Jan. 6, KIRO reported.
Chief Diaz said the actions of the pair of officers violated the community’s trust.