Warner, Kaine cosponsor bill to block deployment of federal paramilitary agents in US cities

Mark Warner and Tim Kaine

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., left, and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, confer on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, following an event with the Senate Democratic Caucus to urge Republicans to support a “clean bill” to fund the Department of Homeland Security as that agencies budget expires later this week, in Washington. The […]

WASHINGTON (WAVY) – Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced on Thursday that they are cosponsoring legislation that would block federal paramilitary forces from being deployed throughout U.S. cities.

The move comes after President Donald Trump sent federal law enforcement agents into Portland, Oregon although state and local authorities did not request assistance following nearly eight weeks of protests. In response, Warner and Kaine are joining Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden to introduce the Preventing Authoritarian Policing Tactics on America’s Streets Act.

“What we’ve seen in Portland these last two weeks is an outrage and should never be accepted in the U.S.,” the Senators said. “President Trump is using completely unjustified and unconstitutional intimidation tactics against American citizens over the objections of state and local officials. This bill makes it clear that unidentified officers cannot trample on the constitutional rights of peaceful protesters.”

The Associated Press also reported that Homeland Security plans to deploy about 150 agents to Chicago to help local law enforcement deal with increasing crime rates.

Additionally, the Trump administration sent over 100 federal law enforcement officers to Kansas City to help overcome the spike in violence after a shooting killed a young boy there.

Specifically, the legislation would:

  1. Require individual and agency identification on uniforms of officers and prevent unmarked vehicles from being used in arrests.
  2. 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.
  3. Require disclosure on an agency website within 24 hours of deployments specifying the number of personnel and purposes of deployment.
  4. Make arrests in violation of these rules unlawful.

The bill was also introduced as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Kaine previously introduced a successful NDAA amendment to prevent using military funds or personnel against American citizens “exercising their First Amendment rights.”

The full text of the Senate NDAA amendment can be found here.

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