‘No possible justification’: Detroit mayor, police chief respond to threat of federal agent deployment

Local leaders disagree with deployment of federal agents amid peaceful protests

Protesters march in protest of the death of George Floyd, Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Detroit. The death of George Floyd at the hands of police last month in Minneapolis has sparked nationwide protests for police reform. (Nicole Hester/Mlive.com/Ann Arbor News via AP) (Nicole Hester, Nicole Hester/Mlive.com)

DETROIT – U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to deploy federal agents to cities across the country, including Detroit, amid ongoing national protests.

However, most protests have been peaceful in recent weeks -- especially in Detroit.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and police Chief James Craig issued the following statement in response to Trump’s threat:

“Neither the City of Detroit nor the Detroit Police Department has had any contact from any representative of the federal government about any plans to sends DHS officers to Detroit. There could be no possible justification for such an action. The Detroit Police Department has had the support of the Detroit community in making sure our City did not have a single store looted or a single fire started during the protests.

“Unlike nearly every other major city in the country, the Detroit Police Department never requested assistance from the National Guard -- we handled our issues as a community. We definitely have no need for any federal presence being sent in now.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel are both also against the idea of deploying federal agents in Michigan -- and they both seriously question the motivation behind it.

“It is deeply disturbing that President Trump is once again choosing to spread hateful rhetoric and attempting to suppress the voices of those he doesn’t agree with. Quite frankly, the president doesn’t know the first thing about Detroit. If he did, he would know that for nearly two months now, Detroiters have gathered to peacefully protest the systemic racism and discrimination that Black Americans face every day,” Whitmer said. “There is no reason for the president to send federal troops into a city where people are demanding change peacefully and respectfully. If the president actually wants to help the people of Michigan, he can start by picking up the phone and telling Mitch McConnell to pass the HEROES Act, so we can provide immediate relief to Michigan’s families, schools, and small businesses.”

“President Trump’s politically motivated threat to send ‘more federal law enforcement’ to Detroit, among other cities, has nothing to do with protecting public health or safety. It is about using the power of his office as a cudgel to punish those who use their constitutionally guaranteed rights to express views he disagrees with. Such threats undermine peace and stability in our communities by unnecessarily escalating tensions and encroaching on states’ rights,” Nessel said. “We are a nation of laws, and the President’s attempts to intimidate our communities with threats of violence could not be more un-American.”

The Chicago Tribune, citing anonymous sources, reported Monday that Trump planned to deploy 150 federal agents to Chicago. The ACLU of Oregon has sued in federal court over the agents’ presence in Portland, and the organization’s Chicago branch said it would similarly oppose a federal presence.

“We’re going to have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you,” Trump said Monday. “In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time.”

Top leaders in the U.S. House said Sunday they were “alarmed” by the Trump administration’s tactics in Portland and other cities. They’ve called on federal inspectors general to investigate.

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President threatens to send troops to American cities over protests

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.