After almost two months since the incident of Lafayette Square, the event continues to cause controversy. National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco recently appeared before Congress on Tuesday to once again dispute the motives behind the Trump administration’s forceful removal of protectors on June 1st.
What We Know:
- DeMarco has challenged the Trump administration’s reasoning as to why federal forces used violence against protesters to disperse them, along with teargassing hundreds of people to clear the square. The order to have protestors involuntarily displaced came just before President Donald Trump decided to walk to a historic church and take a photograph holding the Bible.
- The National Guard officer that specifically challenged it was noted in a testimony that was used for his appearance before the House Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. The committee is tasked to look into what transpired that day, deciding who is accountable, against what had appeared to be largely peaceful crowds in the square that night.
- In accordance with the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, DeMarco took advantage of his right to speak his mind, as the act states no one may prevent a member of the “armed forces from preparing protected communications,” specifically with Congress.
- DeMarco wrote in his testimony that “From what I could observe, the demonstrators were behaving peacefully” until Federal and Park Police turned on the peaceful crowd. He also recalled encountering Attorney General William Barr and Gen. Mark Milley at the square. Barr apparently had a conversation with Park Police leaders.
- The National Park Service, who is responsible for overseeing the U.S. Park Police, responded to a statement last month from the Police head Gregory T. Monahan, according to a report from the AP. In the statement, Monahan made it clear he did his part to reduce the amount of violence, without going into specifics.
- Contrary to the initial claims of tear gas use, a Park Police liaison officer explained to DeMarco that when dispersing protesters, they only used “stage smoke”. Despite the officer insisting it wasn’t tear gas, DeMarco felt the stinging in his eyes and nose firsthand and even found tear gas canisters laying on the street that night.
Lafayette Square is only one example of peaceful protesting gone wrong. Public discord on social justice continues across the country, most notably, the restless protests in Portland, Oregon. It has sparked conflict for weeks between Trump’s administration and local officials.