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Thu Jun 10, 2021, 07:22 PM

Reading the Park Police IG Report More Closely. It doesn't support the headlines.


Dear Readers,

Last summer, amid a nationwide explosion of angry protest following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the area around the White House witnessed several nights of violence.

On Friday May 29, 2020 and continuing into the early morning hours of May 30, the confrontations between protesters and police were especially pitched and the chaos verged uncomfortably close to the White House. The Secret Service reportedly rushed President Trump into an underground bunker in response to the threat, prompting widespread mockery. The next two weekend nights, the security perimeter around the White House expanded northward across Lafayette Park (which sits across a pedestrian thoroughfare from the North Lawn), DC officials imposed a curfew, and violence around the capital escalated as city police and a surreal array of federal forces—some without any clear indicia of the agencies they belonged to—locked horns with the crowds. In the weekend upheaval, the historic St. John’s Church on the north end of the park briefly caught fire.

By that Monday, the DC curfew had been moved up to 7 p.m. My colleague Hunter Walker arrived in the vicinity of the White House before that time, thinking that’d he’d have at least an hour to set up before the nightly clashes between police and protesters erupted. It was not to be. The video he captured shows the violent expulsion of protesters, press, and clergy from the area that began within minutes, led by officers mounted on horseback:

Almost immediately after the violent expulsion, former President Trump emerged from the White House and walked across Lafayette Square through a phalanx of law enforcement officers in riot gear to pose for photos in front of the boarded-up church. Many observers, looking at the proximity of the photo op to the expulsion and a convincing circumstantial case examining then-Attorney General Bill Barr’s appearance at the protest scene before the expulsion began, concluded that the expulsion had been ordered and timed to allow for Trump’s photo op at the church.


Author is a writer and attorney. I've read stuff from him at Just Security.

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