The Seattle Times
Two of six off-duty Seattle police officers who attended the pro-Trump rally that preceded the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol were fired Friday by interim police Chief Adrian Diaz, who followed the recommendations of an investigation that found they trespassed onto restricted grounds and stood by in the immediate vicinity of an “active insurrection.”
The dismissals were announced in a posting on the Seattle Police Department’s news blotter. A recommendation of termination was included with the release last month of the findings of a six-month investigation by the Office of Police Accountability (OPA).
The two officers have been identified as Alexander Everett and Caitlin Rochelle Everett, who are married. According to the investigation, they downplayed their actions in D.C. and likely lied to internal investigators about what they did.
Diaz said in a statement that such behavior by sworn law enforcement officers cannot be tolerated.
“In granting the police the power and responsibility to do their work, the community takes as collateral an expectation that law enforcement will at all times earn and abide by that trust,” the chief wrote. “This is what should be expected of policing, and it is what I demand as Chief. It is also what Seattle Police officers expect of their colleagues. “
“It is based on those values that I reached my decision,” Diaz said.
The chief said the investigation found the officers “crossed the outdoor barriers established by the Capitol Police and were 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.”
Three of the other four officers who attended the Washington, D.C., “Stop the Steal” rally were cleared of allegations of unprofessional conduct and did not break any laws, the investigation found. The investigation into allegations against the fourth officer was inconclusive, according to the department’s civilian-run OPA.
Emails sent to accounts belonging to the Everetts seeking comment on their termination were not immediately returned Friday.
In an email sent to Seattle City Council President M. Lorena González on July 28, Alexander Everett called on the council to investigate several of its own members for attending Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle last summer and not condemning what he said were calls for violence against police. He also wrote that city officials “allowed an insurrection to occur in our very own city” during the two-week existence of the police-free Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), which ended after violence and two homicides.
“I am a Seattle Police Officer and one of the officers in the investigation regarding January 6th 2021,” he wrote. “The actions from the Seattle City council during 2020 endangered countless lives of the citizens of Seattle and in some cases, the actions were illegal.”
González referred the messages to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and the city’s human resources investigations unit. On Friday, the council president issued a statement saying she supported the terminations and accused the officers of trying to “distract from their own inexcusable actions by placing blame on others.”
“Unfortunately, this is another example of the serious and pervasive cultural issues within the Seattle Police Department’s ranks which we must address,” she said in the written statement.
González is now headed to the general election in the Seattle mayor’s race, competing against former City Council President Bruce Harrell.
The summary of the investigation into the two officers says senior OPA investigators traveled to Washington, D.C., and conducted dozens of interviews with people ranging from waiters and hotel clerks to senior officials with the Capitol and Metropolitan police forces. They also reviewed videos and photographs of the event, including still pictures prepared by the FBI from video shot by a third-party defendant now facing federal charges in the Capitol siege case.
The still photos captured a man and woman — identified as the Everetts — smiling and standing within a restricted area just outside the U.S. Capitol while, nearby, pro-Trump rioters forced their way into the building, the investigation says.
Diaz issued final disciplinary action reports for both Alexander Everett and Caitlin Rochelle Everett — in which Diaz wrote for both officers: “As a police officer, you have sworn to uphold laws and the Constitution. Yet on the afternoon of January 6, you violated the law and stood in the midst of an attempted insurrection,” the chief wrote. “Your unlawful presence provided the appearance that you, a member of the Seattle Police Department, supported an unlawful insurrection and greatly undermined the public trust in you and all law enforcement officers.”
Neither officer attended their disciplinary hearing with the chief, according to the documents. However, Diaz noted that both claimed they were “participating in a political event” and exercising their rights to free speech and association.
Diaz said the evidence showed otherwise and chastised the officers for participating in an event that put their fellow officers in the nation’s capital in danger.
“This discipline is simply and unequivocally not based on your attendance at a rally in support of a candidate or position,” the chief wrote. “It is based on your involvement in a riot at the [ Capitol] Building. You betrayed the incredible and harrowing work by other officers on January 6 and deeply damaged our relationship with those we serve.”
Staff reporters Daniel Beekman and Lewis Kamb contributed to this report.
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