July 24, 2020

JOINT RELEASE: LAWMAKERS CALL ON US ATTORNEY TO PREVENT USE OF FED AGENTS IN COLORADO

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 26Sen. 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