June 10, 2021 –
WASHINGTON – This week, the Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General (IG) released a report following their review of U.S. Park Police (USPP) actions at Lafayette Park in June 2020. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:
“After reading the IG report, I believe the message to my Democrat colleagues is clear: don’t jump to conclusions. We spent hours last year listening to Democrat committee members excoriate Park Police officials on their alleged use of force against protestors, only to now find out USPP officers were not at fault. For example, the report clearly shows D.C. Metro Police officers were the ones to use tear gas and excessive force, without any authorization from the Park Police. Even still, Chairman Grijalva is claiming this independent report is unsatisfactory, all because it does not fit with the narrative that Democrats have built over the past year. This is unacceptable. We have an oversight process in place for a reason, and I’m glad to see the IG deliver such a comprehensive review of the situation. This should be a lesson to us all to take a deep breath, look to the facts and not rush to emotional judgment. In America, we are innocent until proven guilty.”
Following the June 2020 protests in Lafayette Park by the White House, the IG began a review of the USPP’s actions and legal authority as it pertained to clearing and restraining protestors. Their final report included:
• Findings that neither the president nor the attorney general influenced the timeline for USPP clearing the square and erecting the fence.
• Conclusion that USPP did not authorize the use of CS gas in the operation to clear the square and confirmation that the D.C. Metro Police Department was the law enforcement agency responsible for the use of CS gas.
• Establishing USPP’s use of a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), discrediting National Guard Major Adam DeMarco’s testimony to the House Committee on Natural Resources that an LRAD device was not used.
During his opening statement at the June 28, 2020 hearing where police chief Gregory Monahan testified, Chairman Grijalva claimed to want answers as to why the order to clear the park was given and who authorized the use of gas. The IG report answers those questions. Lafayette Square was cleared to allow contractors to safely erect a fence and the D.C. Metro Police, not USPP, used CS gas.
Read the full report here.
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