July 21, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today announced his support for the Preventing Authoritarian Policing Tactics on America’s Streets Act, which would block the executive branch from deploying unidentified, unmarked federal forces against Americans. The legislation comes as the Administration utilizes federal law enforcement officers to confront protestors with munitions and tear gas in Portland, Oregon, even as state and local officials urge the federal government to stand down and deescalate tensions. In addition, this legislation has been introduced as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate is currently debating.
“The United States has always held the right to protest as sacred, you may even say “self-evident” – but today, we’re seeing unidentified federal officers using physical force to take that right away. That is not the America I know,” said Senator King. “We’ve seen protesters tear gassed, members of the free press attacked, and individuals grabbed off the street and thrown into unmarked vehicles – hallmarks of tyrannical regimes, not free societies. This is a moment of truth, when America must stand up for its values or risk losing them. For me, the choice is clear – I stand with local officials and local law enforcement, as well as with peaceful protestors exercising the First Amendment; I stand against unlawful violations of the civil rights that we’ve long held dear by an uninvited, unidentified federal presence on the streets of our cities.”
Senator King has previously pushed back on the Administration’s aggressive suppression of peaceful protests. Last month, he pressed U.S. Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt seeking answers regarding the actions of the U.S. Park Police to forcefully clear peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square on June 1st.