Seattle mayor: Barr’s reported suggestion that prosecutors charge her is ‘chilling’
Seattle’s mayor said a report indicating that Attorney General William Barr instructed federal prosecutors to consider targeting her for charges over a decision to allow protesters to establish an area free from police presence during weeks of protests in the city is “chilling.”
In a statement issued on Twitter late Wednesday, Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) said that Barr’s reported actions represented an attempt to “subvert the law and use the DOJ [Department of Justice] for political purposes.”
“The DOJ cannot become a political weapon operated at the behest of the President to target those who have spoken out against his actions. That is an act of tyranny, not of democracy,” she continued, adding: “I will continue to fight for what I believe is right, and I will not be distracted by these threats from meeting the challenges facing our great city: a pandemic, an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and a civil rights reckoning.”
I will continue to fight for what I believe is right, and I will not be distracted by these threats from meeting the challenges facing our great city: a pandemic, an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and a civil rights reckoning.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) September 17, 2020
Barr also suggested during the same call that federal prosecutors seek to charge protesters whenever possible, including with crimes as severe as sedition, according to The New York Times.
Durkan faced criticism, particularly from conservatives, after Seattle police were forced to retreat from a downtown area for nearly a month after protesters responding to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody occupied the area.
“Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW,” President Trump tweeted in June. “If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
The mayor this summer met with demonstrators in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone and informed them at the time that police would peacefully evict protesters from the area in the near future and eventually followed through with that order following several shootings in the area.