Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that a small number of federal officers were sent to Seattle after President Donald Trump said the agents would be deployed in Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a bid to fight a rise in crime.
Seattle was not mentioned when Trump made the announcement or in a news release issued by the White House, which stated that Milwaukee, Detroit, and Cleveland could also see federal officers. Agents were deployed to Portland, Oregon, earlier this month after a federal courthouse was attacked and demonstrators attempted to set it on fire, while the move to deploy officers drew condemnation from Portland’s mayor and Oregon’s governor.
Inslee, a Democrat, made the announcement in several Twitter posts late on Thursday, accusing the Trump administration of not being transparent.
“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,” he wrote. “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” Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
Inslee said that the administration should “only provide what is needed” and urged them to “not engage unless asked.”
Last month, Seattle police and municipal workers dismantled a self-described “autonomous zone” set up by demonstrators and self-described anarchists in the Capitol Hill area of the city in the wake of the George Floyd protests. It came after two fatal shootings were reported while police officials said it was more difficult to respond to emergencies in the area.
Durkan, a Democrat, also appeared to confirm the reports of federal agents being sent.
“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,” Durkan wrote on Twitter. “DHS now says they have a limited number of agents in the area on standby to protect federal buildings.”
In Portland, meanwhile, nearly two months of demonstrations have taken place. This week, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was seen at demonstrations before he was rebuked by protesters.
Trump responded to Wheeler marching with demonstrations, saying “he made a fool out of himself.”
“He wanted to be among the people, so he went into the crowd, and they knocked the hell out of him. That was the end of him. So it was pretty … pretty pathetic,” Trump told Fox News on Thursday.
At a White House event, the president said that “in recent weeks there has been a radical movement to defund, dismantle, and dissolve our police department.” As a result, he argued, it has caused “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders, and heinous crimes of violence.”