Concerns mount over possibility Trump deploys federal law enforcement in Seattle

Jul 20, 2020, 11:53 AM | Updated: Jul 21, 2020, 11:20 am

Federal troops, Portland, federal law enforcement...

Agents from different components of the Department of Homeland Security have been deployed to protect a federal courthouse in Portland. (Doug Brown via AP)

(Doug Brown via AP)

With federal law enforcement agents clashing nightly with protesters in Portland, Oregon, there are concerns a similar scenario could soon play out in Seattle.

12 SPD officers injured, several businesses damaged in protest

On Sunday, roughly 300 protesters moved through downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill. Several windows of government buildings and businesses were broken by demonstrators during the march, including the U.S. federal courthouse and the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold worries that could be enough to spark a situation similar to that of Portland’s, where troops operating under the Department of Homeland Security have reportedly driven around in unmarked vans and snatched up protesters without identifying themselves.

“The result of yesterday’s demonstration did bring to mind my concern that the Trump Administration could use it as an excuse to do the same to Seattle,” Herbold cautioned during Monday morning’s council briefing.

“I plead with the public to please continue your demonstrations, but I plead with you to please do so peacefully,” she added.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan commented on the possibility of federal agents in Seattle on Monday, as part of a joint statement with mayors from Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Portland, and Washington, D.C.

“The unilateral deployment of these forces into American cities is unprecedented and violates fundamental constitutional protections and tenets of federalism,” the statement reads.

King County prosecutor sets record straight on protest arrests

The White House intimated this week that it will soon be rolling out a plan to deploy federal agents in several other cities across the United States. Gov. Jay Inslee’s office says it has spoken with White House officials in recent days, who informed the governor that at least as of now, federal agents are not operating inside Washington state.

“We will continue to have conversations with them. It doesn’t appear that they are planning to come at this time,” Inslee’s office told KIRO Radio.

SPD hasn’t heard any word of federal agents being deployed in Seattle either, but plans to meet with Mayor Durkan’s office to discuss the city’s plans should that occur.

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Concerns mount over possibility Trump deploys federal law enforcement in Seattle