Two officers from the Seattle Police Department who were present in the District of Columbia on Jan. 6 were fired on Friday.
Adrian Diaz, the interim Chief of the Seattle PD, said in a statement that the firing was effective immediately.
The officers, married couple Caitlin (pdf) and Alexander (pdf) Everett, were fired because they “were found to have crossed the outdoor barriers established by the Capitol Police and were directly next to the Capitol Building,” Diaz said.
“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,” he added.
He continued, “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,” later calling their participation in the events of Jan. 6 “a stain” on the Seattle PD.
Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police union that represents officers, said in a statement that the case was politicized.
“This a tough case and it’s a lose-lose for everybody,” he said Friday in a statement obtained by KOMO News. “This case, like any event from January 6, is going to be politicized and that’s the sad part of this. That’s a tough thing to really grasp.
“We have people that align on the left, people on the right and in the middle, and as a union we have to advocate for everybody, regardless of January 6 and the sad day in our nation’s history,” he added.
The decision to fire the officers on Friday aligns with recommendations from the Seattle Office of Police Accountability (OPA)—a civilian group within the department acting as a watchdog—in a report (pdf) it released in July. The report was a culmination of an investigation that began six months ago.
That investigation was sparked when Caitlin Everett on Jan. 7 shared a photo of herself and her husband at the demonstration, although it was unclear where exactly they were located in the photo. Another four officers later reported that they were also there but maintained they were not involved in any riots.
According to the OPA report, the couple asserted that they were on some grass 30 to 50 yards (27 to 45 meters) away from the building, and they didn’t see any signs of disturbance.
But the investigation yielded videos showing the couple “directly next to the side of U.S. Capitol Building”—an area that would be off limits to the public—while other people were “on the steps of the building, as well as climbing the scaffolding, and numerous demonstrators were surrounding the building,” the OPA report said.
The police discipline reports said that both Caitlin’s and Alexander’s assertions were “not credible.”
The other four officers didn’t appear to violate any law or break any policy while at the demonstration on Jan. 6, per the OPA report.
The identities of the other four officers have not been released by the Seattle PD.
It was not immediately known if the Everetts have a lawyer. The attorneys representing them and the four other Seattle officers in the public records case withdrew from the case after the accountability office investigation was completed last month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.