The Washington State Police is actively monitoring threats to the state capitol in Olympia and the agency is “preparing for anything,” spokesperson Chris Loftis told CNN today.
“What we’re seeing are evolving threats over time,” Loftis said.
He explained the agency has seen “some general threats that we can tie to specific individuals and specific groups” that have centered around coming to the capitol to “wreak havoc and harm and keep the operations of the capitol from occurring as they normally do.”
“We do follow all the social media chatter and some of these groups are quite brazen,” he added.
Loftis explained that many of these threats and groups look “to make the point that they feel the election has been stolen and that the Covid restrictions that we have had in the state and others are somehow unconstitutional.”
He said the agency is working with FBI, other local law enforcement agencies, and other state agencies through a “fusion center” in Seattle.
In addition to resources brought in from all eight of Washington State Patrol’s districts, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee authorized 750 members of the National Guard to be activated, Loftis explained. As a result, “hundreds and hundreds” of personnel are at the state capitol around the clock.
“Our position in all of this is that we’re here to protect people’s rights to free speech and we’re here to protect the rights of assembly,” Loftis added. But he cautioned “if you come onto campus, with intent to harm, whether it’s the people the place or the process, we’re going to respond, as law enforcement always does.”