Seattle Mayor: Federal Police Sent to Riots Could Mean ‘Martial Law’

Police push demonstrators back atop a Black Lives Matter street mural in the area formerly known as CHOP during protests in Seattle on July 25, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Police and demonstrators clash as protests continue in the city following reports that federal agents may have been sent to the …
David Ryder/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s decision to follow U.S. law and send federal police to cities to quell the violence caused by riots “looks like a dry run for martial law,” Jenny Durkan, the Democrat mayor of Seattle, said on Thursday.

“[It] “looks like a dry run for martial law,” Durkan said in an interview with taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR).

“It is unprecedented for federal authorities to take this level of approach for local jurisdictions and cities and surge federal resources in them to take over public safety duties like arresting people and policing protesters,” Durkan said.

NPR did not question Durkan on her claim that Trump would invoke martial law rather than step down if former Vice President Joe Biden wins the presidential election. Instead, NPR implied the president might also interfere with the contest:

The deployments are part of Operation Legend, a program named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy killed last month in Kansas City. It is intended to quell gun violence and help solve murders in cities across the country. Federal agents have been deployed to multiple cities under the program, including Chicago, Albuquerque, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland and Seattle.

Durkan said that if agents were placed in cities where there are already heightened threats to voting rights, then she is “very concerned about what it could do to suppress the vote in America.”

“The places that they are sending these federal agents are primarily in places where there are significant protests against police violence and for racial equity,” Durkan said. “And it doesn’t take much of a leap to also use those agents to say you’re protecting the polls, but have federal agents in and around polling places to fight against fraud when really it’s suppression.”

“Durkan said she told the Department of Homeland Security she did not want federal agents sent into her city, but despite that, forces were deployed and put on standby,” NPR reported. “She said they’ve since left, but she and other mayors feel the federal deployments could be part of a darker political goal.”

“We have seen, and I’ve talked to mayors across the country, the same thing when the president actually tweets, and it’s not my words saying he’s targeting cities run by Democrats, he’s openly admitted it and tweeted about it,” Durkan said. “And I think that that is really a chilling prospect that a president of the United States would use federal resources for political purposes.”

As Breitbart News reported, Mark Morgan, CEO and commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has agents in Portland, Oregon, said federal officers are stationed across the United States, tasked with protecting 9,000 federal buildings. Morgan also said federal officers have been deployed to quell violence in the U.S. for decades.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.