SEATTLE - Seattle Police Department’s interim chief spoke publicly for the first time on Monday after learning at least two officers were in Washington D.C. when a deadly siege occurred at the U.S. Capitol.
During a news conference, interim chief Adrian Diaz explained the steps taken leading to an investigation on the possible involvement of the officers.
"I decided it was essential to our commitment to transparency and enhancing public trust that we share this information with the community," said Diaz.
Diaz said an SPD employee informed the department Thursday night about the officers’ pictures posted to their own social media accounts while at the capitol building. Diaz said it was immediately clear to him that an investigation was necessary.
"That's the reason why I acted very quickly to ensure that, number one, this gets investigated and that people know that I’m not afraid to hold people fully accountable if they are doing wrong thing," said Diaz.
He asked the City of Seattle’s Office of Police Accountabilty to open a case.
"Given the seriousness of what took place, out of an abundance of caution, I asked OPA to conduct investigation. If OPA finds any evidence any officers were directly involved, they will be fired and the information will be shared with federal officials," said Diaz.
OPA’s director, Andrew Myerberg, said the case will go through a 30-day investigation before determining the next steps. In the meantime, Diaz confirmed the officers are on administrative leave.
Myerberg said OPA is also investigating comments on Twitter made by Seattle Police Officer’s Guild president, Mike Solan.
Sloan retweeted a post suggesting Black Lives Matter and liberal activists are partially at fault for the Capitol siege. Solan later tweeted, "Far-right and far-left are responsible for that sad day."
During a scheduled meeting on Monday, members of the Seattle City Council called for Solan to resign. Diaz said Solan’s remarks about the attack are unacceptable.
"It was such a huge challenge to our democracy. And it doesn’t matter left or right, we just cannot have that type of action in our country," said Diaz.
Diaz said the department is working to see if any other officers were in D.C. or possibly involved in the deadly siege. He said they’re also looking for employees who may have shown support for the violence on their social media accounts, which is a violation of SPD’s social media policy.