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Council members call for Seattle police union head to resign

January 12, 2021 GMT

SEATTLE (AP) — Pressure built for the head of the Seattle police union to step down, with eight of nine City Council members calling for his resignation Monday following his comments implicating Black Lives Matter and other liberal activists in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

Mayor Jenny Durkan called last week for Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan to retract his words and apologize, or resign. The Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council, which expelled the police union from its ranks in June amid protests against police brutality, and Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County are also calling for him to step down.

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The acrimony came as negotiations with the city on a new police contract are set to begin, The Seattle Times reported.

“Mr. Solan’s remarks and their implications are reprehensible and untrue,” council member Alex Pedersen said at a morning City Council briefing. Pedersen is one of two council members who have opposed efforts to cut police department funding by up to 50%.

“The current president of the police union has, in my view, disqualified himself to be a fair partner in negotiating the contract,” Pedersen said.

Council members M. Lorena González, Lisa Herbold, Andrew Lewis, Tammy Morales, Teresa Mosqueda, Kshama Sawant and Dan Strauss also called for the resignation of Solan.

Two Seattle police officers were in Washington, D.C., during the riot and have been placed on administrative leave. It hasn’t been determined yet if they participated in the breach of the Capitol.

“I cannot help but wonder whether the actions of these officers were influenced by the rhetoric of their leader,” Herbold said.

Seattle’s internal police watchdog, the Office of Police Accountability, is investigating Solan’s tweets, including one on Friday saying the “far right and far left are responsible for that sad day.”

Solan also retweeted, with approving comments, a right-wing blogger who said “an extreme BLM activist” was among those in the pro-Trump mob.

Solan didn’t respond immediately to an email from The Associated Press requesting comment.