(The Center Square) — Seattle Police Officers Guild boss Mike Solan is under fire for posting sensationalist tweets belittling far-right groups’ role in the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol last week.
Solan, who was elected as SPOG President in 2013, is facing calls to resign by Seattle leaders for posting tweets entertaining conspiracy theories that Black Lives Matter and anti-fascists were partly responsible for the violent invasion of Congress in Washington D.C. by supporters of President Donald Trump.
His tweets credit Andy Ngo, independent reporter and editor-at-large of right-wing news site The Post Millennial, as a source for the information.
Ngo has dismissed rumors of anti-fascists or Black Lives Matter orchestrating the violence at the U.S. Capitol in an interview with the Washington Examiner.
The violent events in D.C. on Wednesday resulted in five deaths, including the death of one police officer.
Solan’s tweets follow photos posted to social media of who appear to be two officers from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) who participated in the U.S. Capitol riot.
Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) is currently investigating the claims which Acting Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said on Monday have resulted in the two officers being placed on leave.
“The Department fully supports all lawful expressions of First Amendment freedom of speech, but the violent mob and events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol were unlawful and resulted in the death of another police officer,” Diaz said. “If OPA finds any evidence any officers were directly involved, they will be fired and the information will be shared with federal officials.”
Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who voted for 15% cuts to the SPD’s $409 million budget in November, suggested Solan’s attitudes encouraged his coworkers to travel to D.C. on Wednesday.
“I cannot help but wonder whether the actions of these officers were influenced by the rhetoric of their leader [Mike Solan],” Herbold said.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called on Solan to restrict his posts, apologize, or resign last week.
On Monday, Solan’s tweets lost him the support of Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pederson, one of the few on the city council to consistently vote down SPD budget cuts.
“The current president of the police union has in my view disqualified himself to be a fair partner in negotiating that contract, which will become the most important tool for sustaining reform, saving money, maintaining safety, and delivering justice,” Pederson said.
Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis agreed that Solan was no longer fit to serve as a negotiator for SPD’s upcoming contract renewal with the city this year.
“[SPOG] would be wise to relieve itself of that divisive leadership, which has done nothing to advance the cause or issues of that union,” Lewis said.
By late Monday, Seattle City Council President M. Lorena González and remaining councilmembers Tammy Morales, Kshama Sawant, Teresa Mosqueda, and Dan Strauss had all voiced support for Solan’s resignation.
In June, SPOG was expelled from the Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council following protests against police brutality that began in late May 2020. The labor council’s members are also calling on Solan to resign.
An FBI bulletin first obtained by ABC News and reported on by major news outlets around the nation anticipates armed occupations of state capitols starting January 16 ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
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