Threats of Violence Against FBI Agents Are ‘Absolutely Unacceptable,’ Says Federal Law Enforcement Group
The threats come after the FBI searched President Trump’s Florida residence on Monday.
This story was updated at 3:20 p.m. with comment from Attorney General Merrick Garland and at 3:55 p.m. with comment from the FBI Agents Association.
An association that represents federal law enforcement denounced an onslaught of violent threats against FBI agents following the bureau’s search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and residence in Florida on Monday.
Trump has been decrying what he calls a “raid” on his social media platform Truth Social and through his fundraising committee, as have users on pro-Trump websites and Republican lawmakers. Additionally, there has been an uptick in death threats against FBI agents, Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, according to Fox News.
“[The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association] vehemently denounces the extreme threats of violence levied against agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation this week,” said Larry Cosme, national president of the nonprofit association, which represents more than 31,000 federal law enforcement officers and agents across 65 federal agencies, in a statement on Wednesday. “All law enforcement understand their work makes them a target for criminal actors; however, the politically motivated threats of violence against the FBI this week are unprecedented in recent history and absolutely unacceptable.”
He added: “That is not to say there is no place for politics in law enforcement,” as top FBI officials are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. “These individuals set enforcement priorities that agents are tasked with carrying out. But even still, an investigation will not occur unless there are allegations of violations of the law and will not progress unless there is evidence of wrongdoing.” He encouraged individuals to take their concerns to the ballot box and their congressional representatives.
Similarly, on Wednesday, Wray called the threats against the Justice Department and federal agents “deplorable and dangerous.”
“I’m always concerned about threats to law enforcement,” Wray said during a previously scheduled press conference in Nebraska, the Associated Press reported. “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”
On Thursday afternoon, Garland addressed the “unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors” while delivering a statement on the Mar-a-Lago search.
“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants,” said Garland. “Every day they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”
Brian O’Hare, president of the FBI Agents Association, said in a statement, “the threats made recently contribute to an atmosphere where some have, or will, accept violence against law enforcement as appropriate. It is not.” He also said, “FBI special agents are dedicated members of the law enforcement community who put their lives on the line every day to protect the public from criminals and terrorists.”
On Thursday morning an armed individual, with a reported AR-15 style rifle, tried to breach the screening facility at the the FBI Cincinnati Field Office, prompting a lockdown of all buildings within a one-mile radius.
“Law enforcement has traded shots” with the male suspect who was wearing body armor, the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency, said in a post. As of midday on Thursday, the suspect wasn’t taken into custody, but was contained. So far, it is unclear if the incident has any connection to the Mar-a-Lago search.
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