Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Ordinary Police Union, said Monday night that despite a growing choir calling for his resignation, he would not resign after speaking for “far left” activists and Black Lives Matter in part the US had blamed pro-Trump siege of the US Capitol.
In an internal letter to members of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG), Solan regrets commenting on national politics, but says his comments were “deliberately filmed for political reasons in order to violate SPOG and limit our influence”.
“I interpret the invitation to submit my resignation as political rhetoric. I will never bow to break the culture if I lead this association with conviction, ”Solan wrote. However, he added, “If at any time you feel that this union needs a correction, I am always open and receptive to your feedback.”
Solan has been under fire since last week when he tweeted after the mob attack on the Capitol: “Far right and far left are responsible for this sad day.”
He also retweeted approvingly on a right-wing blogger who said “an extreme BLM activist” was among those in the pro-Trump mob.
“As the [mainstream media] Pointing out that one group is the guilty party also shows clear evidence that another group has committed seditious criminal acts in the past, ”added Solan.
Eight out of nine members of the Seattle city council have called for Solan’s resignation. Mayor Jenny Durkan said to withdraw his words and apologize or resign.
On Monday evening, he did not do either of these in the letter to his union colleagues. Instead, Solan quoted “BLM, Antifa or Proud Boys” and said: “At no point have I accused one faction of the other.”
“What I wanted to convey is that we as police are caught in the middle of two extreme political groups (left / right) that are vying for political control through violence,” wrote Solan.
Solan and SPOG did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
The controversy will come as soon as the union contract expires and negotiations with the city on a new contract begin.
Durkan said Tuesday she found Solan’s comments “unreasonable” and representative of “someone unwilling to come to the table in good faith to hear what we need to do about police reform”.
“His comments, and even defense of those comments, show that he is not that person, but that is a choice for SPOG,” she said. “We hope to have someone at the table who is a true partner.”
Solan also wrote in defense of the two Seattle police officers who were in Washington, DC during the mob attack on the Washington, DC Capitol. They were taken on administrative leave and the Police Department is investigating whether they took part in the riot.
Solan wrote that they are “attending President Trump’s rally in Washington DC” and that the union is offering them resources.
“As you can imagine, we are concerned about their safety, their mental health and their apparent guilt for simply exercising their constitutionally protected first adjustment rights,” he wrote. “We find ourselves at a frightening time in our nation’s history when expressing a dissenting opinion can result in you being ‘canceled’.”
Solan said that a year ago, before the death of George Floyd and the mass protests he sparked, members of Durkan and the city council had commended the police department for reforms.
“When we are abandoned by our politicians, you must remember one thing; The reasonable community in Seattle supports us and we will always have each other as we are a strong union, ”he wrote. “We are SPOG.”