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Washington state officials confirm federal officers leaving Seattle

Washington state officials confirm federal officers leaving Seattle
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Washington state officials confirmed Tuesday that a federal law enforcement unit is leaving Seattle after being sent to the city to quell ongoing demonstrations there.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) and Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington county warns of at least 17 positive tests after 300-person wedding The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by UAE - US records 1 million COVID-19 cases in a week; governors crack down Washington state issues sweeping restrictions to combat coronavirus surge MORE (D) said in a statement that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Border Patrol Tactical Unit has left Seattle after being deployed there “without the consultation or consent of state and local officials.” 

“The president’s actions to target and ‘dominate’ Democratic cities through the use of federal forces is chilling. It has increased violence in Portland, Seattle and other cities across the country, which was what the president intended. Policing decisions in Seattle should be made by Chief Best – not Donald Trump, and we can rest assured that they will be,” Durkan said. 

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The officers were first sent to Seattle last week amid a wave of national protests against systemic racism and police brutality that was sparked by the killing of George Floyd in May.

The Trump administration has claimed the deployments were intended to restore “law and order” against “anarchist” demonstrators, but local officials panned the move as a provocation.

“This demobilization means Washingtonians no longer have to worry about the White House's aim to provoke confrontation and undermine peaceful protests,” said Inslee. “Those peacefully protesting have raised the public's consciousness of the urgent need for racial justice, and I have no doubt they will continue to use their voices to call for action. We must continue making progress toward a better and more just Washington for everyone.”

The team that had been sent to Seattle is similar to the units that remain in Portland, Ore., to fortify federal property that has been damaged by protesters amid ongoing demonstrations there.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE has fired back against criticism that the deployments are an overreaction, casting the protests as being led by violent “anarchists,” though many of the demonstrations have been peaceful.

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“The Fake News Media is trying to portray the Portland and Seattle ‘protesters’ as wonderful, sweet and innocent people just out for a little stroll. Actually, they are sick and deranged Anarchists & Agitators who our great men & women of Law Enforcement easily control, but who...would destroy our American cities, and worse…” he tweeted Monday.