Mike Solan, the president of Seattle’s rank and file police union, said Monday night that he will not step down, despite a growing chorus calling for his resignation after he blamed, in part, the “far left” and Black Lives Matter activists for the pro-Trump siege on the U.S. Capitol.
In an internal letter to members of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG), Solan expresses regret for commenting on national politics but says his comments have been “spun intentionally for political reasons to hurt SPOG and limit our influence.”
“I interpret the calls to tender my resignation as political rhetoric. I will never bend to cancel culture as I lead this union with conviction,” Solan wrote. He added, however, that “if at any point you feel this union needs a course correction, I will always be open and receptive to your feedback.”
Solan has been under fire since last week when, following the mob attack on the Capitol, he tweeted, “Far right and far left are responsible for that sad day.”
He also approvingly retweeted a right-wing blogger who said “an extreme BLM activist” was among those in the pro-Trump mob.
“As the [mainstream media] point to one group as being the culprits, clearly evidence also shows another group w/ a history of riotous criminal actions,” Solan added.
Eight of nine Seattle City Council members have called for Solan’s resignation. Mayor Jenny Durkan said he should retract his words and apologize or resign.
On Monday night, in the letter to his fellow union members, he did neither. Instead, Solan cited “BLM, Antifa or Proud Boys” and said “at no point did I blame one faction over the other.”
“What I was trying to convey is that we as police are caught in the middle of two extreme political groups (left/right) whom are vying for political control via violence,” Solan wrote.
Solan and SPOG did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
The contretemps comes just as the union’s contract has expired and negotiations with the city over a new contract are set to begin.
Durkan on Tuesday said she thought Solan’s comments were “indefensible” and representative of “someone who is not willing to come to the table in good faith to listen to what we need to do on police reform.”
“His comments and even the defense of those comments show he is not that person, but that’s a decision for SPOG,” she said. “We’re hoping to have someone at the table who’s a true partner.”
Solan also wrote in defense of the two Seattle police officers who were in Washington, D.C., during the mob attack on the Capitol. They have been placed on administrative leave, and the Office of Police Accountability is investigating if they participated in the riot.
Solan wrote that they were “attending President Trump’s rally in Washington D.C.” and that the union is offering them resources.
“As you can imagine, we are concerned for their safety, mental health and for what appears to be their guilt by association for merely exercising their constitutionally protected first amendment rights,” he wrote. “We are in a scary time in our nation’s history as voicing a dissenting opinion can get you ‘canceled.'”
Solan said that a year ago, prior to the death of George Floyd and the mass protests it inspired, that Durkan and City Council members had praised the police department for its reforms.
“When we are abandoned by our politicians you must remember one thing; the reasonable Seattle community supports us and we will always have each other as we are a strong union,” he wrote. “We are SPOG.”
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