‘Shredding the Fabric of Our Nation’: Seattle Mayor Says DHS Sec. Misled Her About Federal Agents Deployed to Her City

 

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf misled her about the deployment of federal agents to her city and blasted the Trump administration’s strategy of surging heavily-armed officers with aggressive crowd control tactics into American cities.

Appearing on MSNBC’s All In on Friday, Durkan told guest host Mehdi Hasan that Wolf initially told her that he did not see the need to send DHS agents to Seattle despite upcoming planned protests in that city. The shocking image of camoflauged agents in combat tactical gear assaulting some protestors and snatching others off the street and whisking them away in unmarked vehicles — without ever charging them with a crime — has ignited outrage and prompted a DHS Inspector general investigation.

But when Hasan asked Durkan point blank if federal agents were currently in Seattle, she said yes.

“I talked to the acting secretary yesterday. He assured me that they would not be surging agents to Seattle, that he did not see a threat in Seattle like was in Portland and that if that changed, he would call me and our chief of police,” Durkan recalled. “Shortly after we spoke, they admitted they had put agents supposedly on ‘standby’ and had deployed them to Seattle if they needed them. We have made very clear to him and to the local federal authorities that we do not need that kind of help. We have seen how federal agents have escalated what is happening in Portland night after night after night. And as I said, every American should be worried about this. This kinds of actions, setting federal agents like an occupying force into cities across America targeted by the president because they are run by Democratic mayors, is using a political stunt. It’s really frightening.”

What could Durkan do, in response, to the federal deployment, Hasan asked.

“I met today with the lawyers not just for the city but for the [Washington] attorney general’s office, Bob Ferguson. as well as our county prosecutor to see what steps we could take,” Durkan said. “We have a lawsuit ready to go to file with the court that if they even start to do actions like they’re doing in Portland, we will ask the federal court to stop them. That happened in Portland. Unfortunately, I think, it happened too late. We want to make sure that what’s happening in Portland doesn’t happen in Seattle. They are attracting people to a fight night after night after night, and it’s purposeful. It is to escalate violence and we have to stop that.”

“Given what we saw in Portland,” Hasan pressed, “how dangerous do you think this is?”

“I think it is a critical point for American democracy and very dangerous. I think it is shredding the fabric of our nation that holds us together,” Durkan said. “As… a former United States attorney under Barack Obama, I have never seen anyone suggest anything close to this. This is not what you use federal law enforcement for, to have them become paramilitary groups with secret arrest powers, bundling people off, deploying tear gas every night, it is a political thing and it is done for political purposes. This is not what America stands for. We have to make sure that every American knows this is a threat to all of us and our democracy.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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