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posted Friday, January 15, 2021 - Volume 40 Issue 03
Truth or consequences - Pressure on head of Seattle police union to resign
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Truth or consequences - Pressure on head of Seattle police union to resign

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Eight of the nine members of Seattle's City Council have joined the growing call for Mike Solan to resign as president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG).

Solan - who campaigned for his position as an anti-protest hardliner - stirred up a hornets' nest of controversy with remarks blaming Black Lives Matter for the violent attack on the US Capitol on January 6.

On January 8 Solan retweeted a right-wing conspiracy theory that "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.

"Far right and far left are responsible for that sad day," he wrote.

Seattle City Councilmembers Lorena González, Lisa Herbold, Andrew Lewis, Tammy Morales, Teresa Mosqueda, Kshama Sawant, and Dan Strauss all called for Solan to resign as head of the SPOG.

"Mr. Solan's remarks and their implications are reprehensible and untrue," Councilmember Alex Pedersen said at a January 10 City Council briefing.

Pedersen has been one of only two council members who have been friendly to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), consistently opposing efforts to defund it.

"It's time for Mr. Solan to hand this important position over," Pedersen said. "We must have a partner who has truly embraced that we cannot go back to the way things were. The current president of the police union has, in my view, disqualified himself to be a fair partner in negotiating the contract."

The only council member not to call for Solan's resignation was Debora Juarez.

Mayor Jenny Durkan had previously called on Solan to retract his statement and apologize, or to resign.

The Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council, which expelled the SPOG from its ranks in June, also called for Solan's resignation. So did Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, and the Black Law Enforcement Association of Washington.

"Mike Solan's comments on the right-wing mob are out of line & an affront to those fighting for racial justice," the MLK Labor Council wrote on Twitter. "This is part of a pattern of behavior that shows Solan is more interested in building his public profile than representing his members. He should resign."

Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County said Solan "is incapable and unwilling to do the work that needs to be done to dismantle racism in the union."

Robert Alexander, a retired Seattle police officer who leads the Black Law Enforcement Association of Washington, said his group works to bring accountability to law enforcement.

"Mike Solan's comments undermine not only our work but those of others who seek to make law enforcement better by regaining the trust of our communities," Robert Alexander, a retired police officer and head of the Black Law Enforcement Association of Washington, said.

"Anything short of his resignation would be considered an insult to all of the good men and women in law enforcement who work tirelessly to be the best stewards and guardians of the communities in which they serve."

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