Seattle's Office of Police Accountability (OPA) dropped its findings on the Seattle Police Department officers who attended the Stop the Steal Rally that became the Capitol Insurrection on January 6. As Rich summarized in his header earlier this afternoon on Slog, the OPA found that:
The OPA recommends that the employment of the two off-duty SPD cops who trespassed, identified by the Seattle Times as SPD Officers Alexander Everett and Caitlin Rochelle (they're married), "be terminated." The OPA followed up: "As the officers are entitled to due process, additional proceedings still need to take place before discipline can be imposed." Read the OPA's findings here.
Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz is the guy who can fire the couple: Diaz previously said: "If any SPD employee participated directly in assaulting the Capitol, I will terminate them." Today, an SPD statement announced that "Chief Diaz intends to issue his disciplinary decision within the next 30 days." Diaz doesn't have to follow the OPA's recommendations if he doesn't want to, as you may remember.
Mayoral candidates Lorena González and Jessyn Farrell are among those calling for the termination of the two officers. Candidate Andrew Grant Houston has called for the resignation of all six officers. His statement extends the farthest:
Ace, and the team at large, called, and continue to call for, the immediate removal of the involved officers and any leadership suppressing the public knowledge of their undemocratic acts. This includes all officers involved, and Mike Solan, President of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG), and Adrian Diaz, Interim Chief of SPD. Solan (who blamed the storming of the Capitol on Black Lives Matter) and Diaz have both failed to uphold the responsibilities of their positions of leadership.
I haven't seen a statement from our actual mayor yet.
This note in the report stood out to me, on page 16: "Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say that this case has done more damage to the perception of SPD by the community than any other case in my time at OPA. This is a clear example of conduct that is unprofessional."
Everyone's talking about this story today: So feel free to read Seattle Times or PubliCola or KUOW or Crosscut or SCC Insight or Converge or Capitol Hill Seattle Blog (a different Capitol than the insurrected one) or at any of the other local media outlets I'm forgetting.
ICYMI #InsurrectionReport - @SeattleOPA Director Myerberg earlier today explaining how his office worked with the #FBI to identify the two officers that were at the US Capitol. Full interview with the findings broken down by @SCC_Insight here: https://t.co/aNfAHdXLJa pic.twitter.com/eVBuLcwgJk
— Omari Salisbury (@Omarisal) July 8, 2021
Something from Paul Kiefer's reporting for PubliCola:
Investigators confirmed that three of the officers left the rally before the crowd began its march towards the capitol building. A source with background knowledge on the case told PubliCola on Wednesday that two of those officers spent part of the day with former SPD officer Adley Shepherd, whose 2016 termination for punching a woman during an arrest devolved into a protracted legal battle that ended in April when a Washington State Court of Appeals judge upheld Shepherd’s firing.
Pivoting to the rest of today's news:
Before we heat things back up by talking about Afghanistan: Here's a feel-good seal story.
Meet Bjorn the sea lion, a new resident at @PtDefianceZoo: “This guy has survived a gunshot to the head, he’s survived a shark bite, he’s survived a pandemic. And here he is he finally gets his second chance at life.” https://t.co/5pgrWAzf4J
— KNKX Public Radio (@knkxfm) July 8, 2021
We've been at war in Afghanistan for 20 years: But Biden's pulling out "by August 31." The pull-out date was originally September 11, but the Pentagon said earlier this week that our pull-out is already more than 90% complete, including leaving Bagram Air Base, its last Afghan base. “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build,” Biden said while giving half-hour-long remarks today on the war. “And it’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.”
President Biden: "After 20 years, a trillion dollars spent training and equipping hundreds of thousands of Afghan national security and defense forces, 2,448 Americans killed, 20,722 more wounded...I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan" pic.twitter.com/e7c0k3YQfQ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 8, 2021
What comes next for Afghanis? "[Afghanistan] President Ashraf Ghani insists that Afghan security forces are fully capable of keeping insurgents at bay," reports the BBC, "but there have been reports of thousands of Afghan troops seeking refuge in other countries to avoid the fighting." The New York Times has a good list of the biggest questions facing the country and its stability.
Did an American assassinate the Haitian president? "Two men believed to be Haitian Americans—one of them purportedly a former bodyguard at the Canadian Embassy in Port au Prince—have been arrested in connection with the assassination of Haiti's president," reports NPR. The Haitian government announced this afternoon it has arrested six people in connection to the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, who was killed yesterday.
Last month's sizzling heatwave was a mass casualty event in the Pacific Northwest: The Washington State Department of Health has confirmed at least 78 deaths in our state due to the extreme heat. Most of those were in King and Pierce counties. Coroners are still working through cases, and many expect the official number to be higher.
If all this death-and-cop news is too much for you today: Here's a short history of Legally Blonde's "Bend and Snap" scene.
PSA: Before going any further, we want to remind you that Scarecrow Video, Seattle's crown jewel/non-profit physical media library/Last Video Store Standing, is fundraising for "Scarecrow 2.1," a campaign to raise $250,000 by the end of this summer. The funds will expand their national reach by improving their well-worn database, in addition to financing operational costs, community programming, and the recovery of economic losses induced by the pandemic. They've raised a good amount of $$$ already ($150K!) but they still have a ways to go.
Scarecrow informed us today that they just received a pledge of $50K from an anonymous donor as a matching challenge: But that means they have to reach $200K! We got this, Seattle!!!
HUGE NEWS! An anonymous donor has pledge $50,000 *IF* we hit $200,000. Every dollar we raise for 2.1 going forward will be matched! Double your impact with your tax-deductible gift in support of critical upgrades that will help assure Scarecrow's future!https://t.co/HN9gBNsKnD pic.twitter.com/1Ny7KyhWi5
— ScarecrowVideo (@ScarecrowVideo) July 8, 2021
If you're looking for recommendations on what to rent at Scarecrow: You know we got those, too.
Speaking of hard-to-find movies: Will you be in Bellingham on Friday, July 23? Stranger staffer Jasmyne Keimig and I are hosting a free screening of Pink Floyd's The Wall in downtown Bellingham (1318 BAY ST) with the Pickford Film Center. It's outside. Food @ 7. Music @ 8. Movie @ moonrise. More info to come.
King County bought another hotel to house the homeless through its "Health Through Housing" initiative: The county purchased the former Holiday Inn and Suites on Aurora Avenue in North Seattle for $17.5 million, it announced today. Earlier this year, the county dropped $16.5 million to buy the Inn at Queen Ann. The county wants to buy up to a dozen hotels this year. This new purchase marks their third.
King County has purchased the former Holiday Inn Express & Suites North Seattle (14115 Aurora Avenue N) for $17.5 million and will use the 99-unit building as supportive housing for the chronically homeless. https://t.co/kbp0SXAv45 pic.twitter.com/I4oxAqGh7y
— Joe Veyera (@JoeVeyera) July 8, 2021
Big news! King County has completed the purchase of its third property in the #HealthThroughHousing Initiative, the former Holiday Inn Express & Suites North Seattle. This purchase will add an additional 99 units of supportive housing for the chronically homeless. pic.twitter.com/0XSVyebEWr
— Dow Constantine (@kcexec) July 8, 2021
Dial 988 instead of 911 if you need help for an active mental health crisis, beginning in "mid-2022." Crosscut's Melissa Santos has a feature out today on Washington state's passage of House Bill 1477 and what that means for the state's crisis call centers. (TLDR: More $$$ and staff.) Here's Dhingra:
“We all know that it is not illegal to have a mental health crisis,” said state Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, speaking in support of HB 1477 on the Senate floor. “But the options available to people now are to call 911.”
“This gives an alternative that will save lives.”
The Seattle Times' endorsements are slowly dropping: Ours come out next week.
Definitely a choice not to even mention Oliver's campaign. Thomas is brought up but as "an insider with a council that has put Seattle on the wrong path." https://t.co/0VpVcWwrI4
— Chase Burns (@chaseburnsy) July 8, 2021
Jasmyne and Charles always end their AMs and PMs with music: So I'll do it too. I've been listening to Aurelio Valdez's For Those Who Chant EP a lot since his Sound Off! performance earlier this summer.