Off-Duty Seattle Police Officers Fired for Allegedly Attending 6 January Capitol Riots
06:05 GMT 07.08.2021 (Updated: 13:21 GMT 06.08.2022)
On 6 January 2021, hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump besieged the US Capitol to protest lawmakers certifying the 2020 election results. Law enforcement authorities have so far charged 500 people for participating in the riots that claimed the lives of five people.
Two off-duty Seattle police officers, who are accused of violating the law while attending the 6 January US Capitol riots, have been fired, Seattle Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz said in a statement on Friday.
The officers were identified as married couple Alexander Everett and Caitlin Everett. They are accused of trespassing onto restricted grounds and standing next to the US Capitol as riots inside the building occurred on 6 January.
© REUTERS / Shannon StapletonPolice release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.
Police release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.
At the time, scores of supporters of former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol in a bid to prevent the US Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the 3 November 2020 presidential election.
Diaz described the two officers' actions as a "stain on our department, and on the men and women who work every day to protect our community, serve those in need, and do so with compassion and dignity".
He added that the Everetts were "found to have crossed the outdoor barriers established by the Capitol Police and were directly next to the Capitol Building".
"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", the police chief stressed.
Diaz also referred to disciplinary reports, in which he wrote that both officers stood in the "midst of an attempted insurrection" on 6 January and apparently downplayed their actions that day.
© AP Photo / Manuel Balce CenetaFILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as rioters are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol in Washington
FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as rioters are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol in Washington
© AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta
The reports underlined that the "central function of a law enforcement officer is to uphold the law and keep the peace" and that the Everetts' actions "fell far short of that".
The officers, for their part, insisted they stayed on the grass 30 to 50 yards (27 to 45 metres) away from the Capitol Building and that they never saw any signs of a disturbance, according to a report issued by the Justice Department's Office of Public Affairs.
Capitol Police Bracing for 'Huge' Rally by Trump Supporters
Their firing comes as US Capitol Police said they are "aware of a proposed rally" being planned by Trump's supporters to aid those who were arrested during the events on January 6th.
Matt Braynard, the former data chief for Trump's campaign, told ex-White House strategist Steve Bannon on his podcast that the planned rally would be held on behalf of "political prisoners" detained on 6 January.
"We're going back to the Capitol, right where it started. And it's going to be huge. We're going to push back on the phony narrative that there was an insurrection", Braynard said, adding that 6 January was "largely peaceful" and that Trump supporters were "egged on in many cases by the Capitol Police".
Last month, during the first hearing of the House select committee formed to investigate the 6 January riots, four US Capitol police officers, however, described the events as "horrific", arguing that the scene at the Capitol at the time resembled a "medieval battlefield".
Democrats and many others blamed then-President Donald Trump's speech about fraudulent elections at a rally on 6 January for prompting the attack on Congress later that day, which left at least five people dead.
Trump strongly denied the notion that he riled up the mob attacking the Capitol, later condemning the violence. He was subsequently impeached by the House for a second time on charges of inciting insurrection but managed to avoid conviction in the Senate.