Inslee addresses incident at state Capitol, authorizes National Guard to provide security

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Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement today condemning a group that bypassed a gate and occupied the lawn of the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia on Wednesday, as well as violent acts of insurrection in the nation’s capital that same day.

Inslee and his wife, Trudi, were in the house when the rioters got on the property, according to multiple media outlets. Washington State Patrol said Inslee and his family were in a safe spot during the incident.

“Here in our capital on a day that was to be dedicated to preparing for the opening day of our legislative session, so that we could address our challenges, including the pandemic, that work was forcefully interrupted by … acts of attempted intimidation,” said Inslee in the statement.

Inslee said that acts of intimidation won’t halt or delay the legislative session, scheduled to start on Monday. WSP and the Washington State National Guard have coordinated efforts in preparation for what may be a chaotic day of demonstrations on the capitol campus by far-right groups. Inslee authorized the use of up to 750 National Guard members to be on hand at the capital.

During a press conference on Wednesday, WSP Director of Communication Chris Loftis said law enforcement are planning for a worst-case scenario while hoping for the best.

“We’ll be ready for a large crowd, we’ll be ready for belligerence, we’ll be ready for conflict,” he said.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, there will be designated parts of the Capitol Campus for people using their first-amendment rights.

WSP Public Information Officer Darren Wright said Wednesday he wasn’t aware of any arrests made, saying sometimes making arrests incites a crowd, leading to violence. Rather, he said, the situation is under investigation. The results of the investigation will be sent to the prosecutor’s office.

Inslee also denounced violence at the nation’s capital which, as of Friday, resulted in five deaths, including that of a United States Capitol Police officer.

“I revile these acts of sedition and intimidation that we have seen in our country today. I call on all elected leaders to condemn this. I especially encourage the Republican Party to do some soul searching. It’s time to stop pandering to falsehoods. This is about more than one failed presidency: Everyone has a role to play in getting disinformation out of our civic discourse. Together, that spirit will lead to successful efforts here in our state’s capital and in our nation’s capital,” Inslee said.

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