Feature image: Seattle Police Department attempts to secure the area outside Rancho Bravo on Capitol Hill after deploying chemical weapons against protestors. Taken during the George Floyd protests in Seattle. Photo: Derek Simeone, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
The names of all six Seattle Police Department officers who attended the fascist Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., have been finally revealed. In a lengthy and exhaustive Twitter thread, DivestSPD posted names, badge numbers, and personnel records for each of the officers, detailing salaries and their long histories of complaints and disciplinary actions. Of all law enforcement agencies in the nation, the Seattle Police Department had the most officers confirmed to have been in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.
The public already knew that an investigation was underway into the conduct of these six officers, but until now their identities had remained secret. Relying on police rosters for January and publicly-available data, DivestSPD identified the case number for the investigation, and was able to definitively identify the officers. The group then referenced the Office of Police Accountability complaint database to surface the numerous complaints against these officers. The complaints are shocking and describe gratuitous violence against members of the public.
Sgt. Jacob Briskey #6824 works in the canine unit, drawing a base salary of nearly $122,000, and was hired in 2004. He has been named in five lawsuits that have cost the city more than $500,000. He roughly arrested a Black youth on false charges and beat, tasered, and falsely arrested a sleeping elder. While breaking up a backyard party, he fractured a young man’s shin when he stomped on his leg.
Alexander Everett #8565 and Caitlin Rochelle #8566 are a married couple who transferred to Seattle from Texas. In their three year careers with SPD, they have amassed a combined 10 OPA complaints for excessive use of force and bias. They each draw a salary of more than $95,000.
Jason Marchione #8490 works the same beat as Caitlin Rochelle and has had six OPA complaints since 2017, one of which was for breaking a man’s wrist during arrest. Marchion uses force against Blacks significantly more often than the SPD average. Fully 45% of his uses of force were against Black people. His salary is $107,000.
Sgt. Scott Bach #6711 has been with SPD since 2001 and has a salary greater than $138,000. He was previously the acting lieutenant of the Major Crimes Unit. The day after the Capitol riots, he was transferred to the Southwest Precinct and possibly demoted to sergeant. Bach currently has three active OPA investigations against him, and had been named in a lawsuit from 2008 alleging illegal search and seizure.
Sgt. Detective Michael Settle #6625 works on the vice squad and has a base salary of $117,500.
Borne out of the national uprising against racism that erupted after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, DivestSPD is an organization of activists, journalists, and citizens working to cut off the hose of money given to the Seattle Police Foundation by corporations in the city. The Seattle Police Foundation is SPD’s non-profit arm, and is used to supplement the department’s already bloated budget to purchase equipment and fund projects. Police foundations are not required to list their donors. As such, they are massive pools of dark money and serve to influence the department and provide a protection racket for corporations.
Despite the liberal and progressive image the city of Seattle enjoys, the Seattle Police Department has a long history of violence and discrimination. In 2012, following years of killings by police and arrests that disproportionately targeted Black, Indigenous, homeless and other vulnerable people, the Seattle Police Department was placed under a consent decree with the Justice Department. The consent decree was intended to reform the Seattle Police Department, instituting policing practices that are not in violation of the Constitution.
On May 7, 2020, the city of Seattle filed a motion to end the consent decree. In their petition, Mayor Jenny Durkan said,
The Seattle Police Department has transformed itself. The original investigation of SPD showed force was being used unconstitutionally far too often, and frequently involved people in crisis or under the influence. Nearly a decade later, as we submit the final report under the sustainment plan, Seattle police officers have become a national leader in policing and de-escalation with a commitment to true and lasting reform.
On May 25, George Floyd was murdered and a nationwide rebellion was born. The Seattle Police Department gassed, beat, and terrorized activists and turned the area surrounding the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill into an uninhabitable warzone. The Seattle Police Department continued their violent tactics in contradiction of a ban on these “crowd control” weapons. Under immense sustained pressure from the City Council, and facing a recall campaign, the city and mayor relented and dropped the request for an end to federal supervision of SPD.
These six officers are not the exception; they are the rule. The police cannot be reformed. No matter the whitewashing or pinkwashing, no matter how many police march at Pride, the police will always serve the capitalist class and their private property. When challenged, they will always default to violence; it is in their class nature. To abolish the police, we must abolish capitalism.