On Wednesday, an internal probe claimed that members of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) deliberately faked police radio transmissions that indicated a right-wing protest was about to occur in June of 2020.
According to The Hill, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) concluded after its review that a “misinformation effort” was “approved, ordered, and led” by a high-ranking officer in the SPD. The radio chatter in question appeared to describe a gathering of the Proud Boys, a patriotic and conservative organization, that was heading towards the Capitol Hill region of the city, where a riot was taking place on June 8th.
When this was leaked to the rioters, they “began building barricades and arming themselves” in preparation for what they believed would be a confrontation. Throughout the race riots in major American cities in 2020, there were numerous instances of the Proud Boys and other conservative groups clashing with rioters, often for the purpose of protecting citizens and defending private property from vandalism and destruction.
The OPA probe began after a journalist went to the department in November of 2020 with concerns about the alleged near-confrontation, claiming that there was no evidence the Proud Boys were in the area that night.
“The journalist stated that, when this occurred, it seemed like everyone in the crowd who owned guns went to get theirs,” the OPA review said. Far-left groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa have been known to brandish guns for the purpose of harassing, threatening, and killing innocent civilians; in August of 2020, an Antifa activist named Michael Reinoehl stalked Aaron Danielson, a Trump supporter, through the streets of Portland, Oregon before eventually running up behind him and shooting him, killing him. Reinoehl was eventually killed by police after an extensive manhunt concluded in a firefight.
The probe concluded that the alleged misinformation was orchestrated by a senior officer, and that “the officers that engaged in the effort did so in compliance with orders from the chain of command.” The review condemned the alleged incident as a “misinformation effort” and an “improper ruse that violated policy.” No evidence was presented to support the review’s findings.
Two unnamed officers in particular are accused of being the primary architects behind the incident; both men have already left the department, and the OPA says it will not pursue any action against the lower-ranking officers who were simply following orders, as they do not “bear responsibility for what subsequently occurred.”