This Tuesday, the National Fraternal Order of Police released a statement designed to "clear up confusion" about its position on the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, saying that those who partook in assaults on police officers "must be arrested and held to account."
"We continue to offer our support, gratitude, and love to our brothers and sisters in law enforcement who successfully fought off the rioters, and we will be with them as they grieve and recover, however long that may take," the statement read.
But as The Atlantic's Adam Serwer pointed out on Thursday, the statement came after the organization was "conspicuously subdued" when it came to discussing the riot.
In the past, the FOP wasted no time in condemning Walmart for selling Black Lives Matter T-shirts, or Nike for its ad campaign promoting the activism of Colin Kaepernick. The organization's Twitter feed is a parade of right-wing-based rhetoric in support of police, but you won't find any condemnations of the pro-Trump mob that attacked police on Jan. 6, Serwer said.
He added that the police union, which endorsed Trump for president in 2020, was "uniquely positioned" to convince conservatives that the right-wing political violence directed against law enforcement officers on January 6 deserves an independent congressional investigation.
Serwer wrote: "The organization is ideally suited to pressure Republican lawmakers to support the commission examining the incident, and to criticize those who seek to turn that process into a circus or rewrite the events of the day."
But instead, according to Serwer, the FOP has chosen to stay "meekly silent" on the Capitol riot, "reserving harsher language for protesters against police brutality than for a mob that brutalized police."
District of Columbia police officer Michael Fanone told CNN that he personally asked FOP's president Patrick Yoes to speak out against those downplaying the events of January 6.
"I found it interesting that, you know, while the Fraternal Order of Police regularly releases statements protecting and defending officers who have been involved in 'line of duty shootings,' that there was no statement denouncing an elected representative who described this officer as an 'executioner laying in wait'. To me that was insane," Fanone said.
But FOP's president refused to commit to anything.
The situation is "a tremendous indictment of police unions in general and the FOP in particular," Serwer said.
"The group has placed its parochial interests ahead of the needs of the public, from whom police derive their authority, and ahead of its sworn brothers and sisters in Washington, who drew the wrath of a political constituency that police unions would prefer not to antagonize. If a commitment to 'law and order' does not include support for the peaceful and democratic transition of power, it is meaningless."
Read the full op-ed over at The Atlantic.