07.20.20

Senator Baldwin Supports Introduction of Legislation to Block Federal Paramilitary Occupations in American Cities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined her Senate colleagues to introduce the Preventing Authoritarian Policing Tactics on America’s Streets Act, which would block the Trump administration from deploying federal forces as a shadowy paramilitary against Americans. The legislation, which was also introduced as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, is led by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).  

The Senators’ action comes after a week in which heavily armed, unidentified federal forces in unmarked vehicles have been grabbing protesters off the street in Portland, Oregon, deploying munitions and tear gas against protesters nightly over the weekend. The federal incursion has inflamed conflict at a time when local leaders are working to de-escalate friction between protesters and police. President Trump said he plans to send federal forces to various other cities in addition to Portland. In a media interview this weekend, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows explicitly named Milwaukee.

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.

In addition to Baldwin, Merkley, and Wyden, the legislation and the Senate NDAA amendment are cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Angus King (I-ME), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Michael Bennet (D-CO). 

The full text of the Senate NDAA amendment is available here.