After an investigation concluded that two Seattle police officers stood by the U.S. Capitol as rioters invaded the building on Jan. 6, the two lost their jobs Friday.
Announcing his decision to fire the Everetts, interim police chief Adrian Diaz said in a statement that evidence shows the officers standing next to the Capitol within barriers established by the Capitol Police during the violent siege to disrupt certification President Biden’s election. The Everetts told investigators they were 30 to 50 yards away and did not witness the assault.
“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,” Diaz said.
“These two officers were present at an attack on the U.S. Capitol, which was also an attack on our profession and on every officer across the country,” he added.
Five people died as a result of the riot, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who authorities said suffered two strokes the day following the attack. Four other officers who were there died by suicides, and families for two of those officers linked the deaths to the riot.
The Everetts could not be reached for comment.
Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police union that represents officers, said he has not received a request from the officers to appeal the chief’s decision.
Solan disputed the chief’s claim that the evidence available indicates the officers participated in the riot, saying the case against them has “glaring holes,” including the full FBI video of the officers at the Capitol. He said the officers were not charged criminally for trespassing.
“This case has been heavily politicized since, honestly, January 6, post that tragic event in our nation’s history,” Solan said.
Diaz said "the participation of these two officers in that crowd is a stain on our department” and extended his apologies to the officers who defended the Capitol.
“As Chief, I have ensured full accountability for anyone found to have lied or other behavior that violates community trust or lessens our ability to work with our community,” he said.
Diaz’s decision follows the recommendation of the Office of Police Accountability, a civilian-run oversight board, after a six-month investigation released last month. The board found the Everetts violated professional standards. Three other officers who attended the Trump rally were cleared of allegations of unprofessional conduct, and the investigation into another officer was inconclusive. Four of the officers’ names have not been released by the department.
The Everetts, previously unnamed by the department until Friday, told investigators that they had not seen any signs of disturbance and didn’t realize that they were standing in a restricted area by the Capitol until they later read a news article about the riot.
But the board said those claims were “simply not credible” given signs on gates staffed by uniformed officers. A video still showed them in “direct view of rioters lining the steps and climbing the walls,” according to the investigative report.
“Their conduct is made even more egregious by the events that were going on around them,” investigators wrote. “While they smiled and looked at the Capitol Building, as captured by the video stills, rioters defiled the seat of American democracy and assaulted numerous fellow officers.”
Read more here: