SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and other top city officials addressed the issue of a federal tactical team being deployed in Seattle ahead of potential protests this weekend.
Seattle leaders say the agents were not requested by them, but the US Department of Homeland Security confirmed to some media outlets that a team of federal officers are in the city to protect buildings such as the federal courthouse.
KIRO 7 saw two Department of Homeland Security planes land at Boeing Field Thursday night, bringing federal officers to the area. City leaders said Homeland Security told them no officers would be coming.
“DHS now says that they have a limited number of agents in the area on standby to protect federal buildings if necessary. Neither myself, nor (Seattle Police) Chief Best, were updated regarding the presence of these federal agents,” Durkan said during the news conference.
The agents’ arrival comes after multiple Seattle businesses were vandalized during protests on Capitol Hill Wednesday night. Numerous windows were broken, stores were looted, and merchandise and even buildings were set on fire.
“What we saw on Sunday and Wednesday night was really challenging for us as a community and us as a fire department,” Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins said at a Friday news conference with Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
In Portland, protests have rocked the city for nearly two months and city leaders have denounced the Trump administration’s move to send in federal officers with any identifying markers.
Some of those officers were seen detaining people without probable cause and putting protesters into unmarked vehicles.
Durkan stressed she’s never seen actions like that before and that should not happen in Seattle, but admits local law enforcement is limited in what it can do against federal officers.
“The last thing we need at this moment in time is for the SPD to have to spend its resources on policing federal agents. That shouldn’t happen,” said Durkan.
“We’ve experienced so much turmoil. We have experienced so much violence,” said Best.
Some say the presence of federal officers is inciting people, but it remains to be seen if more people will take to the streets this weekend.
We have a president that has been very conflict-oriented and to be fair, I don’t trust this president,” said Durkan.
Durkan urged anyone who will be protesting to remain peaceful.
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