DC Mayor Bowser joins calls for removal of federal officers from cities

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has joined several other mayors across the country in calling for President Donald Trump’s administration to remove federal authorities from their cities.

In a letter addressed to Attorney General William Barr and Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, the mayors express their “deep concern and objection to the deployment of federal forces in our cities.”

The letter has been posted on the websites and Facebook pages of a number of mayors who signed on. See the letter posted on Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan’s site.

The message comes as federal agents have been on the ground in Portland, Oregon, where protesters have lined the streets against police brutality and racial inequality.

Mayors from Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, among other cities, all signed the letter.

“While U.S. Marshals have had jurisdiction inside federal courthouses for decades, it is unacceptable and chilling that this administration has formed and deployed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Rapid Deployment Unit and is sending federal authorities to conduct crowd control on city streets and detain individuals,” the letter said.

The letter references the presence of federal agents outside D.C.’s Lafayette Square in June, noting “extreme action was taken by federal law enforcement against protesters without the Mayor of D.C.’s approval.”

Lafayette Square became the center of attention during last month’s clashes between federal law enforcement and protesters. In one instance, smoke bombs and pepper balls were used to disperse protesters who lined the streets in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

At the time, Bowser called the actions taken against “peaceful protesters” shameful, explaining they made D.C. police’s job more difficult.

The letter accuses federal officers of taking similar actions in Portland with “significant force against protesters on a nightly basis, including shooting one individual in the head with munition, reportedly fracturing his skull.”

The mayors also accuse the Trump administration of attacking “local leadership and amplify false and divisive rhetoric purely for campaign fodder.”

“In many of our cities, our communities have expectations for law enforcement, including identification of officers, training and recorded body camera footage, among many other expectations and policies,” the letter said. “These expectations are being blatantly disregarded by federal forces.”

In a separate letter to Congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the mayors urge congress to investigate the administration’s deployment of officers into several U.S. cities.

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Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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