One week before the hotly contested presidential election that has fanned emotions on both sides, law enforcement agencies across the region are preparing for the possibility of civil unrest erupting in Washington state..
“We are making preparations and hoping for the best (but are) concerned about widespread civil unrest,” said Bellevue Police Department Chief Steve Mylett.
Some law enforcement agencies that are tracking extremist activity say they are seeing increased chatter among right-wing extremist groups.
“A lot of the chatter we’ve picked up over the last few weeks has been more directed at post-election civil unrest,” said Devin Burghart, executive director for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, who has been monitoring elections professionally since 1993. “Talk of an impending civil war, depending on the election results and the taking back of America have certainly dominated those far-right corners.”
Burghart said his team has been monitoring the rhetoric at recent large gathering, on social media, walkie talkie apps and on HAM radios.
“This is the highest level of intensity we’ve seen in that entire time, by far,” Burkhart said, who added that the chatter so far has not amounted to any real threats in the Pacific Northwest.