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Durkan, other mayors call on Congress to restrict federal force in protest cities

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and mayors from other metropolitan cities are calling on Congress to enact legislation restricting federal forces during protests.

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, along with mayors from other metropolitan cities, sent a joint letter to Congressional leaders demanding that they enact legislation that restricts federal agents coming into their cities to handle protests.

 Durkan was joined by mayors of Chicago, Washington D.C., Albuquerque and Kansas City, Missouri. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also signed the letter. Portland has had federal forces in the city for weeks trying to control protests. 

The mayors issued the following joint statement: 

"In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black Americans, people across the globe gathered to protest the many systemic failures of the criminal justice system and structural racism. In the United States, protest is both a right and a matter of civic duty. As mayors, we commit to, and are bound by, the constitutional tenet that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.

"At the direction of the President of the United States, unidentified federal agents have been deployed to America’s cities, like Washington, D.C., Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, to interrupt local protests and impose “law and order” for political purposes. Targeting and occupation of progressive cities is unacceptable, un-American and unconstitutional. Moreover, these federal agents are not trained in modern community policing, crowd control, or de-escalation strategies. They do not know the communities in which they are operating, and they are not welcome there. This provocation is resulting in direct physical harm to our communities and must end.”

RELATED: Federal officers vs. protesters: Two different stories of the Portland protests

The mayors are calling on Congress to pass legislation to block the Trump Administration from sending unwanted and unidentified federal agents to our cities.

They want legislation that requires notice and consultation with local authorities and want federal forces to have visible identification on them at all times, unless undercover.

The group also wants to impose limits on federal agents’ crowd control activities to just protecting federal property.

“This Administration has shown no hesitation or remorse in playing the most toxic and damaging form of politics with the lives and livelihoods of the American people. We say no more. We say unequivocally Black Lives Matter. We demand the cynical ploy to co opt the movement for racial justice to come to an end,” the statement said.

RELATED: Seattle leaders express concern about federal agents on standby before weekend protests

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