Three more Seattle Police Department officers are under investigation for possibly participating in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
The Office of Police Accountability (OPA) informed the Community Police Commission (CPC) at the CPC's meeting today that two more SPD officers self-reported that they were in Washington D.C. on the day of the Capitol insurrection. Hours later, SPD announced a third officer self-reported. That brought the total number of SPD officers under investigation for federal crimes up to five. The three officers who self-reported are still on duty, but the two officers who were initially reported to the OPA are on paid leave.
"I anticipate there will be more," said Andrew Myerberg, director of the OPA.
Previously, Chief Adrian Diaz reported that two officers were at the Trump rally in D.C. on the day of the insurrection. Those officers have been suspended with pay while the OPA investigates. Oddly, last week Diaz seemingly slipped up and said that "several" officers were under investigation. After The Stranger asked for clarification, an SPD spokesperson edited Diaz's statement from "several" to "two" in order "to avoid confusion."
Crosscut identified one of the officers as Jason Marchione. According to the report, Marchione has been on SPD's payroll since 2017 and worked in the South Precinct. The other four officers are still unnamed.
Myerberg explained the investigation to the CPC today.
"Really what our focus is in this investigation is we're trying to figure out what [these officers did] at the demonstration," Myerberg said. The officers were at the rally, which in and of itself isn't a crime since officers are allowed to demonstrate their First Amendment rights, Myerberg explained.
"The important consideration for us," Myerberg continued, "is 'Did they cross the barricade? Did they go into the Capitol building?' Chief Diaz has been pretty clear that if that did happen it's going to be termination of employment."
In order to investigate whether or not at least five of our boys in blue committed acts of domestic terrorism, Myerberg and the team at the OPA will be interviewing officers, pulling video directly from the Capitol, and looking at third-party video to "see if we can identify people from their clothing," Myerberg said. "And if it turns out that there were people crossing barricades and going into the Capitol, we will refer them to the FBI for criminal investigation."
Last week, Rep. Pramila Jayapal tweeted a condemnation of SPD:
I'm furious that police officers from my hometown were among the people attacking the Capitol.
It's time for a reckoning in every police force to find any other officers who broke the law in this riot and investigate any ties to white nationalist groups. Hold them accountable. https://t.co/o1y6VhGStL
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) January 13, 2021
The original version of this post stated all the officers under investigation are on paid leave. Only two of the officers are on leave, the others are still on duty.