SEATTLE - One day after an investigation found that two of six Seattle police officers violated the law while in Washington, D.C., during the Jan. 6 insurrection, lawyers representing the officers in a related public records case filed a motion to withdraw from that case.
The six officers had filed a lawsuit in February against a list of people who had filed public records requests seeking the officers’ identities and information about the investigation by the Office of Police Accountability into their activities while in Washington, D.C.
After a judge ordered the release of their identities in March, the officers appealed. Sam Sueoka, a Seattle University law student who was named in the officers’ lawsuit, has asked the Washington Supreme Court to decide the issue. The court will consider that request at the end of July.
On Thursday, the OPA released a report on its investigation. It found that at least two of the officers had violated the law and department policy by trespassing at the U.S. Capitol while rioters stormed the building. OPA Director Andrew Myerberg recommended that the two officers be fired.
On Friday, the officers’ three lawyers, Kelly Sheridan, Victoria Ainsworth and Kayla Higgins, filed a motion stating their intent to leave the public records case. They did not give a reason for withdrawing. They said it would be effective July 19.
Sheridan declined to comment when reached by email Saturday. A phone message left for Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, which funded the lawsuit, was not immediately returned.
Ben Fox, the lawyer representing Sueoka, said now that the OPA investigation has concluded that at least two officers broke the law, the full report, including the officers’ names, should be made public.
The officers had stated in their lawsuit "there has been no allegation — let alone evidence" that any of the six officers participated in any criminal activities or misconduct while in the district on Jan. 6, Fox said.
"It is now apparent that this is a false statement," he said.
"The public has a right to know if the police officers who patrol our neighborhoods also attended the earlier extremist event outside the White House, attended by white nationalists, fascist groups and QAnon conspiracy theorists," Fox said. "The public also has a right to know the identities of the police officers in the likely event that they transfer to a different department."
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