Members condemn the unwarranted and extreme actions of federal agents in Portland, OR

Denver, CO – Democratic lawmakers in the General Assembly today called on Jason R. Dunn, the United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, to prevent the use of federal law enforcement agents in Colorado, following the unwelcomed intrusion of federal forces in Portland, OR and the imminent deployment of additional personnel to cities across the country.

“We have watched in shock and horror as federal agents have descended upon Portland against the explicit objections of state and local leaders and exacerbated an already volatile situation,” the lawmakers wrote. “We see both the deployment of these agents and the excessive force they have used as an unwarranted overreach on behalf of the federal government.”

“We object in the strongest possible terms to any possible deployment of federal agents onto the streets of Colorado without the explicit consent of the state[…] We call on you, the United States Attorney and President Trump’s designee over federal law enforcement in our state, to take any and all appropriate steps to ensure that such unnecessary escalation and imposition does not occur in Colorado,” the lawmakers continued.

Yesterday, President Trump announced he will deploy federal law enforcement personnel to Chicago, IL and Albuquerque, NM, and in recent days, the president has discussed sending agents to several other major US cities. The State of Oregon has filed a lawsuit arguing the federal government has violated the Tenth Amendment and is seeking a restraining order.

The full text of the letter is below:
Mr. Jason R. Dunn
United States Attorney
District of Colorado
1801 California Street, Ste 1600
Denver, CO 80202

U.S. Attorney Dunn,

We write to you today with serious concern for the dire situation unfolding in Portland, Oregon over the past few days and its potential consequences for Colorado and the nation as a whole.

We have watched in shock and horror as federal agents have descended upon Portland against the explicit objections of state and local leaders and exacerbated an already volatile situation. Video documentation shows these often unidentified agents using extreme force to suppress protestors and detain them in unmarked vans on the streets of Oregon.

We see both the deployment of these agents and the excessive force they have used as an unwarranted overreach on behalf of the federal government. Unmarked government vans scooping up citizens exercising their constitutional right to protest belong on the pages of dystopian novels, not the streets of the United States of America. We categorically object to these actions.

We write to you with these concerns not only because we feel it is imperative to speak up in the face of injustice, but because we believe you, as the United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, have an important role to play in how this situation could end up affecting our state.  We have grave concerns that the Trump administration will continue to deploy agents of this sort to cities across the country; this is substantiated by the news that at least 150 such agents will arrive in Chicago before the end of the week, and that President Trump is threatening to deploy agents in cities across the country.

Under the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, states have sovereign authority and the right to exercise police powers.  We object in the strongest possible terms to any possible deployment of federal agents onto the streets of Colorado without the explicit consent of the state. Colorado has asked for and accepted federal assistance in times of need when floods or natural disasters have struck, and we have worked in partnership with federal agencies to protect our communities. The deployment of federal forces in Colorado would not be welcome absent an invitation from the state’s leaders.

We call on you, the United States Attorney and President Trump’s designee over federal law enforcement in our state, to take any and all appropriate steps to ensure that such unnecessary escalation and imposition does not occur in Colorado. We also encourage you to use your position of influence within the administration to raise concerns about what appears to be intentional acts of intimidation with your colleagues across the country and the federal administration.

We trust that you can appreciate the gravity and the urgency of this situation and hope you will take action as soon as possible.

Signed:

Rep. Jeni Arndt, District 53
Rep. KC Becker, District 13
Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, District 32
Rep. Shannon Bird, District 35
Rep. Janet Buckner, District 40
Rep. Bri Buentello, District 47
Rep. Yadira Caraveo, District 31
Rep. James Coleman, District 7
Rep. Lisa Cutter, District 25
Rep. Monica Duran, District 24
Rep. Daneya Esgar, District 46
Rep. Tony Exum, Sr., District 17
Rep. Meg Froelich, District 3
Rep. Alec Garnett, District 2
Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, District 4
Rep. Matt Gray, District 33
Rep. Leslie Herod, District 8
Rep. Edie Hooton, District 10
Rep. Dominique Jackson, District 42
Rep. Sonya Jaquez-Lewis, District 12
Rep. Chris Kennedy, District 23
Rep. Cathy Kipp, District 52
Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, District 29
Rep. Susan Lontine, District 1
Rep. Julie McCluskie, District 61
Rep. Barbara McLachlan, District 59
Rep. Jovan Melton, District 41
Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, District 30
Rep. Kyle Mullica, District 34
Rep. Dylan Roberts, District 26
Sen. Jeff Bridges, District 26
Sen. Jessie Danielson, District 20
Sen. Kerry Donovan, District 5
Sen. Steve Fenberg, District 18
Sen. Rhonda Fields, District 29
Sen. Mike Foote, District 17
Sen. Leroy Garcia, District 3
Sen. Joann Ginal, District 14
Sen. Julie Gonzales, District 34
Sen. Chris Hansen, District 31
Sen. Pete Lee, District 11
Sen. Dominick Moreno, District 21
Sen. Brittany Pettersen, District 22
Sen. Robert Rodriguez, District 32
Sen. Tammy Story, District 16
Sen. Nancy Todd, District 28
Sen. Angela Williams, District 33
Sen. Faith Winter, District 24
Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, District 19
Rep. Jonathan Singer, District 11
Rep. Emily Sirota, District 9
Rep. Marc Snyder, District 18
Rep. Tom Sullivan, District 37
Rep. Kerry Tipper, District 28
Rep. Brianna Titone, District 27
Rep. Alex Valdez, District 5
Rep. Donald Valdez, District 62
Rep. Mike Weissman, District 36
Rep. Steven Woodrow, District 6
Rep. Mary Young, District 50

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