“I want to be very clear regarding the role of federal agents summoned to Seattle. They are here to protect federal properties and the important work that occurs in our courthouses and federal buildings. These are the places where federal judges decide cases and controversies, including those filed by protestors against the City, where social security benefits are processed, citizenship is made possible, and where the rights of the accused are protected.
Last weekend, the Nakamura Federal Courthouse was broken into, a smoke bomb and an American flag were burned, and the building was tagged with graffiti inside and out. These actions were not peaceful protests that my office and the Constitution works to protect. The Nakamura building bears the name of Seattle native Private First Class William Kenzo Nakamura. Before joining the U.S. Army in 1942, Nakamura and his Japanese American family were sent to an incarceration camp. He died in action near Castellina, Italy on July 4th, 1944, while protecting his platoon from withering machine gun fire. Private Nakamura was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for heroism. The people who attacked this building, a building where wrongs are righted and disputes are settled according to the rule of law, are not protesting anything; they seek only to disrupt and destroy, and through their acts, they dishonor Private Nakamura’s memory and his extraordinary sacrifice for his country.
I and my colleagues are reaching out to community leaders with one message: Let’s not let the violence that has marred the Portland protests damage peaceful movements here for a more just society. These federal agents will join our usual law enforcement staff to safeguard our federal buildings. My hope is our community will speak with one voice to discourage those who seek to hijack peaceful protests with damage and destruction. “
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.