U.S. Park Police (USPP) is denying that tear gas was used on demonstrators as law enforcement sought to clear out the protests outside the White House on Monday to make way for the president’s walk to St. John’s Church.
However, though the USPP is saying that “no tear gas was used,” reporters have suggested otherwise. It was reported that the protests were peaceful before tear gas was reportedly used.
Noting the USPP worked with the U.S. Secret Service to put up a temporary fence, the USPP wrote in a statement on Tuesday:
“At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.”
As a result, the USPP said it took measures to “curtail the violence,” including issuing “three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area.” However, as protestors “became more combative,” as USPP wrote, “officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls.”
“No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park,” the USPP wrote.
In the conclusion, the USPP wrote, “The USPP will always support peaceful assembly but cannot tolerate violence to citizens or officers or damage to our nation’s resources that we are entrusted to protect.”
President Donald Trump tweeted in response to reports of tear gas reportedly being used, where he called it “fake news.”
Reporters have, however, shared a different story of what occurred.
This was the scene outside of the White House on Monday as police used tear gas and flash grenades to clear out peaceful protesters so President Trump could visit the nearby St. John’s Church, where there was a parish house basement fire Sunday night https://t.co/nFrCqYpqZR pic.twitter.com/DVP11iiVIh— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 2, 2020
Tear gas has been fired outside the White House at protesters who, on TV, appeared to have their hands raised or were not being aggressive, just chanting.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 1, 2020
I’m live outside the White House. Things are getting insane as flash bangs go off, fireworks, and tear gas. https://t.co/n3ey75XKKx— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) May 31, 2020
This "no tear gas" angle is ridiculous. I was in the middle of a crowd coughing up a lung. All sort of projectiles were being fired at a peaceful crowd. I just watched our raw video from 6:35-7pm. Protesters had taken a knee, chanting "Black Lives Matter" when the advance started https://t.co/t0piOrEdJd— Alexander Marquardt (@MarquardtA) June 2, 2020
Here is the unedited clip from my livestream showing the moments protesters were tear gassed and cleared from Lafayette Park ahead of Trump's visit to St. John's Church. I am posting this because people are trying to say it did not happen. https://t.co/vlqMyICsjZ— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) June 2, 2020
According to Fox News, administration officials said Attorney General Bill Barr was the one who directed the orders for officials to extend the perimeter in clearing Lafayette Square for the president’s walk to the church.
Protests — both peaceful and violent — have erupted in many cities across the nation over the last week for justice over the death of George Floyd.Published in