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Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes Issue Statements on President Trump’s Illegal Threat To Deploy Military Forces in U.S. Cities and States

SEATTLE (June 1, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes issued the below statement following President Trump’s threat to deploy U.S. Military Forces in cities and states across America.

Mayor Durkan issued the following statement:

“Today’s threat to force U.S. military troops on local jurisdictions is unconstitutional and illegal, and shows a shocking lack of understanding about the use and work of our U.S. military.  The Posse Comitatus Act specifically prohibits this type of executive overreach and the mobilization of the military against the American public. We are a nation of laws and fundamental constitutional guarantees, and one of the most important is the right of every American to assemble, peacefully protest, and to free speech which is what we have overwhelmingly seen across the country.  

We welcomed the National Guard over the weekend who have helped in unarmed duties with support and logistics as we deal with the effects of time of civil unrest and the bad actions of a few. But let me be clear: no U.S. Military troops are needed nor will they act as police in Seattle. 

This is an opportunity for community to righteously express anger at the systemic inequities that continue to pollute our society. I support our residents right to assemble and I am glad they are doing so. I am hopeful that through this time of grief and anger, we will be able to channel this energy into sustained, systemic reform across our country.” 

City Attorney Holmes issued the following statement:

“POTUS has lost his mind. He just threatened to deploy active military forces in American cities in plain, criminal violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.   

“The Posse Comitatus Act states that, ‘Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.’ 18 U.S.C. § 1385.  

“Even if this wasn’t blatantly illegal, does Trump actually want the Nation to burn? Our City will fight any steps to use the military against the American public.”