SACRAMENTO -- There were tense moments at the California Democratic Party’s headquarters Wednesday afternoon as a suspicious envelope forced employees to evacuate their offices and authorities to close down streets.
The building is on the corner of S and 9th streets in downtown Sacramento.
The envelope in question arrived at CDP headquarters around 11 a.m.
"It was oddly wrapped, it was from an address that looked pretty fake," said Grace Leekley, the rapid response coordinator for the CDP. "And so with everything going on we thought, hey, better safe than sorry.”
Leekley said the letter was also addressed to Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He's a national Democrat whose office is in Washington, D.C., not Sacramento.
"We’ve been hearing news of odd packages in the past week so let’s get the police on it," Leekley explained.
Leekley said the police arrived within minutes.
"Due to the nature of the call they immediately shut down 9th Street here between R and S," said Sacramento Police Officer Marcus Basquez. "Our explosive ordinance detail quickly responded and they, along with the FBI, the U.S. Postal Office and the Sacramento City Fire Department, were able to determine that that piece of mail was not dangerous."
"We didn’t know that when we got the package," Leekley said.
Leekley says most employees took an extended lunch while police investigated. This close to the midterm elections, Leekley admits the false alarm did disrupt office work but with so many other mail bomb scares nobody questioned if they made the right call.
"It is absolutely unfortunate that it took such a large chunk out of our day, what, six days before the election," Leekley said. "You know, we are all in go mode but we all preferred taking that big chunk out of our work day if that meant everybody was safe."
Police told FOX40 they prefer to be called out to situations like this rather than have people open suspicious mail themselves.
After the incident, CDP Chair Eric Bauman released the following statement, which reads in part:
"I am personally very grateful that this was not a dangerous or life-threatening situation. But the simple fact remains that the political climate in this country has deteriorated to the point where we have to treat every potential threat as an imminent emergency, and that is causing a genuine crisis in our democracy. The dangerous level of violent, right-wing rhetoric is poisoning us. All of us as citizens must use our vote next Tuesday to reject the angry, violent and divisive approach to politics that is tearing us apart and leading to dangerous incidents."