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“While the evidence is not entirely clear, we have found that multiple communication errors may have contributed to a misunderstanding by the BOP regarding firing pepperballs from the park,” the report added.
The report provides a timeline of the events that led to the park police taking action against the thousands of demonstrators protesting against police violence. The June 1 events became a focal point in the Trump administration’s handling of nationwide protests against police brutality that emerged after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd, an unarmed black man. Park police violence has been sharply criticized by local and state executives, congressmen, religious leaders and even foreign governments.
The Demonstrations lasting several days in Lafayette Square Park were mostly peaceful, but some of the protesters demolished the Treasury building, threw bottles and bricks, and injured nearly 50 officers. according to the message.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police Department said people in the area threw several items at the police during the June 1, 2020 incident, including an arson attack that seriously burned and scarred the limbs of an MPD officer.
“In response to these attacks, MPD used mass control instruments, including tear gas, to stop the seditious behavior and protect both officials and others in the area,” the department said.
Trump thanked the IG for the “complete and total discharge in the clearing of Lafayette Park!” In a statement sent by the Save America PAC via email.
The Department’s Inspector General’s Office interviewed witnesses, reviewed video footage, and reviewed written and recorded records to compile the first in-depth government report on the use of force by Park Police against Black Lives Matter protesters in Lafayette Square Park on June 1, 2020. The park Police evacuated protesters long before the 7 p.m. curfew Appointed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, but his leaders were unaware that Trump was planning to hold a photo op at a nearby church, the report said.
“The evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP evacuated the park for a contractor in response to the destruction of federal property and violation of officials on the 30th report’s summary. “In addition, the evidence revealed that the relevant USPP officials had made these decisions and started implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a possible visit by the President to the park later that day.”
“We also found weaknesses in the park evacuation operation, including the use of US intelligence before the USPP started its propagation warnings and the USPP’s failure to provide propagation warnings loud enough for everyone to hear.” telling protesters where to get off before the eviction began, ”added Greenblatt.
The Secret Service discussed with a fence builder on May 30, the day before park police cleared the park, how quickly the contractor could deliver anti-limescale fences to Lafayette Square Park, according to IG-verified emails. Park police were tasked with protecting the contractor’s employees and began working out a plan to clear the park around 10 a.m. on June 1, the report said.
At around 4 p.m. on June 1, trucks with fences entered the White House complex, the report said. Two hours later, the park police began drafting the embassy to warn protesters to leave the park.
The park police only learned that Trump would be walking through the area around 6:10 p.m. when then Attorney General Bill Barr asked the commandant: “Are these people still here when POTUS [President of the United States] comes out?”
“The USPP operations commander told us he hadn’t known until then that the President was coming from the White House to Lafayette Park. He said he replied to the attorney general, ‘Are you kidding me?’ and then hung his head and walked away, ”the report said.
Park police began warning protesters to evacuate the area at 6:23 p.m. Shortly thereafter, the park police began to broadcast warnings to the protesters to leave the park. But videos and interviews recorded on site show the warnings were inaudible to many in the park, including some police officers, the report said.
The warnings came of Bowser’s curfew because the curfew only tied law enforcement reporting to their district and not to federal officials, the park police incident commander said, according to the report.
“We did not enforce the mayor’s curfew,” said the incident commander of the park police to the IG office, according to the report. “We are a federal institution. We don’t work directly for the mayor. “
The IG office recommends the park police to improve how it warns protesters that officials will begin evacuating the area, including “how the USPP will help ensure that everyone, including all law enforcement officers and those trying to disperse them, can hear the warnings”. It also suggested that the agency “improve its field communication procedures to better manage inter-agency operations”.
The results of the IG’s investigation had been requested by then Interior Minister David Bernhardt as well as the Democratic legislature Sen. Ron Wyden from Oregon and the MPs Raul Grijalva from Arizona and Debra Haaland from New Mexico. Haaland, now Home Secretary, said in her written response to the report that she would set up a task force to improve the department’s law enforcement programs.