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Team of Tactical Border Officers on Standby in Seattle

Move comes ahead of expected weekend protests
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2020 6:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – Officials in Seattle say they won't allow the city to become another Portland, despite a beefed-up federal presence ahead of protests expected this weekend. The federal government said Thursday that a "Special Response Team" of tactical border officers will "be on standby in the area, should they be required" to protect federal buildings, reports the New York Times, which describes the team as "similar to the tactical teams currently operating in Portland." The move follows protests Wednesday in which fires were set and multiple businesses were vandalized. Mayor Jenny Durkan said Thursday that officials have told her no "surge" of agents is planned. She says she told Chad Wolf, acting secretary of homeland security, that the city does not need assistance from federal agents. "Any deployment here would, in my view, undermine public safety," she said.

Homeland Security "now says they have a limited number of agents in the area on standby to protect federal buildings. Should federal forces intervene like they have in Portland, we are prepared to pursue every legal recourse," the mayor said, per the Seattle Times. "A federal judge in Portland has entered an order limiting the actions of federal forces there. We are prepared to seek the same relief if necessary." Washington Gov. Jay Inslee criticized the Trump administration for sending "conflicting messages." The Democrat said Thursday that while his office had been assured "there was no surge of additional personnel to Seattle, it appears they are doing just that." (Read more Seattle stories.)

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