Durbin: Sending In Secret Police To Cities Like Portland & Chicago Is Unacceptable & Un-American

Durbin Calls On Congress To Pass New Legislation To Block Trump Administration From Deploying Federal Forces As A Shadowy Paramilitary Against Americans

WASHINGTON – Following reports that President Donald Trump wants to send federal agents into cities, including Chicago, to conduct policing activities that are traditionally handled by local law enforcement, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on the Senate to pass legislation to block the Trump Administration from deploying federal forces as a shadowy paramilitary against Americans.  The Preventing Authoritarian Policing Tactics on America’s Streets Act, which was also introduced as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, comes after a week in which heavily armed, unmarked federal forces in unmarked vehicles were filmed grabbing protesters off the street in Portland, Oregon.  The bill was introduced yesterday by Durbin, and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and 18 of their Senate colleagues.

“I join Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Chicago Mayor Lightfoot in urging the Trump Administration to refrain from taking any action that resembles what occurred in Portland, Oregon,” Durbin said.  “If the President truly wants to cooperate with law enforcement efforts, we can find way to find common ground and make it a safer city together.  But sending in secret police with unmarked vehicles to snatch people off the streets is not only unacceptable, it’s un-American.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

The Preventing Authoritarian Policing Tactics on America’s Streets Act would:

  • Require individual and agency identification on uniforms of officers and prevent unmarked vehicles from being used in arrests.
  • Limit federal agents’ crowd control activities to federal property and its immediate vicinity, unless their presence is specifically requested by both the mayor and governor.
  • Require disclosure on an agency website within 24 hours of deployments specifying the number of personnel and purposes of deployment.
  • Make arrests in violation of these rules unlawful.

In February 2017, Durbin, along with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), sent a letter to President Trump suggesting a range of ways in which the federal government could work in partnership with local officials to provide support and resources to assist in public safety, violence prevention, and economic development efforts in Chicago.