Feds keeping tactical border officers on standby in Seattle
SEATTLE – The Seattle Police Department is preparing for the possibility of property destruction, looting, arson and potential attempts to injure officers this weekend.
In a letter to the Seattle City Council, Chief Carmen Best expressed concern for officers who will no longer be allowed to use less lethal tools like pepper spray under a new ordinance.
Letter to City Council Regarding Council Ordinance 119805 – Crowd Control Tools https://t.co/15yJgRIMES
— Chief Carmen Best (@carmenbest) July 24, 2020
“If I am not allowed to lawfully equip officers with the tools they have been trained to use to protect the community and themselves. It would be reckless to have them confront this level of violence under the current legal restrictions imposed by Council,” said Chief Best in the letter addressed to council.
Chief Best pointed back to recent events in which a dozen officers were injured and on Wednesday night businesses on Capitol Hill were damaged and lit on fire.
“Luckily a neighbor came over with a fire extinguisher really quick and put it out,” said Ian Eisenber, the owner of Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop on E Olive Way. “It’s scary when people are lighting fires in a dense area like Capitol Hill that if a building lights up there’s apartments all around it.”
Eisenberg is looking at upwards of $50,000 in damage. He’s hired armed securities to watch over his property during the overnight hours.
“These core group of 100 or 200 kids breaking stuff for the sake of being anarchists the city needs to do something to step in and let the police do their job,” said Eisenberg.
After a day of conflicting messages from the federal government, where they told my staff repeatedly that there was no surge of additional personnel to Seattle, it appears they are doing just that.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) July 24, 2020
Both city and state leaders are now speaking out after The New York Times reported the Trump Administration is keeping tactical border agents on standby for duty in Seattle.
“After a day of conflicting messages from the federal government, where they told my staff repeatedly that there was no surge of additional personnel to Seattle, it appears they are doing just that,” said Governor Jay Inslee on Twitter. “Now we are hearing a different story where they have a limited number of agents who are in the area on standby, if needed. I am concerned that anything could aggravate the situation, and in their rush they are not listening to @mayorjenny and Chief @carmenbest. It is critical that the administration only provide what is needed by state and local officials, and do not engage unless asked.”
“Following my letter earlier this week, I spoke with Acting Secretary Wolf this afternoon – he told me directly that DHS has no plans – and sees no need – to send federal forces to Seattle. He committed to notifying Chief Best and myself should that change,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan on Twitter. “I made clear to Acting Secretary Wolf that deployments in Seattle — like we have seen in Portland — would undermine public safety and break community trust. DHS now says they have a limited number of agents in the area on standby to protect federal buildings. Should federal forces intervene like they have in Portland, we are prepared to pursue every legal recourse. A federal judge in Portland has entered an order limiting the actions of federal forces there. We are prepared to seek the same relief if necessary.”
Following my letter earlier this week, I spoke with Acting Secretary Wolf this afternoon – he told me directly that DHS has no plans – and sees no need – to send federal forces to Seattle. He committed to notifying Chief Best and myself should that change.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) July 24, 2020