ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have joined a group of 27 Senate Democrats in a letter to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr and Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf demanding answers on the deployment of Federal agents to U.S. cities.
In the letter, the senators detail recent instances of excessive force against unarmed protesters by unmarked federal law enforcement officers in Portland, Oregon.
“We write with urgent concern about disturbing reports of actions by Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security officers against American protesters, as well as threats by the President to deploy federal law enforcement agents into the streets of more American cities. Federal officials should not be dispatched into the streets of our cities without proper authority, training, and accountability. Nor should they be violating the civil rights of Americans who are exercising their First Amendment rights and seeking reforms of their own government’s policies,” the senators wrote.
In the letter the senators continued by saying, “Critically, it remains unclear what legal authorities the federal government has invoked for its militarized interventions in American cities. All of this is part of an alarming pattern by the Trump Administration in taking an aggressive and excessive response to protests catalyzed by the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others. This includes the forcible clearing of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square, in front of the White House, shortly before a photo opportunity for President Trump near St. John’s Episcopal Church—reportedly at your direction, Attorney General Barr.
In addition to Udall and Heinrich, the letter was led by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bernard Sanders (D-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).