On Tuesday, Congress is set to hear testimony from Iraq veteran and major in the U.S. National Guard Adam DeMarco on the events of June 1, 2020 when the National Guard violently dispersed peaceful protesters so that Donald Trump could have a photo-op in front of a church that was damaged the previous night. DeMarco says most of the information coming from Attorney General William Barr and the Trump administration has been false and is planning to set the record straight.
A new statement by Adam DeMarco…casts doubt on the claims by acting Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan that violence by protesters…DeMarco said that “demonstrators were behaving peacefully” and that tear gas was deployed in an “excessive use of force.” https://t.co/HTDQ2pvwrK
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) July 27, 2020
DeMarco said the plan was to disperse the crowd of protesters exercising their First Amendment rights at the 7:00 P.M. curfew and that the protesters he encountered on June 1 were peaceful and causing no problems. However, that plan was sped up by a few hours for reasons that were not fully explained and that warnings to the crowds of protesters to disperse were unable to be heard.
The Washington Post reports that:
‘DeMarco backs up law enforcement officials who told The Washington Post they believed the clearing operation would happen after the 7 p.m. curfew that night — but it was dramatically accelerated after Attorney General William P. Barr and others appeared in the park around 6 p.m. Monahan has said the operation was conducted so that a fence might be erected around the park. DeMarco said the fencing materials did not arrive until 9 p.m. — hours after Barr told the Park Police to expand the perimeter — and the fence wasn’t built until later that night.’
DC Natl Guard Major Adam DeMarco: "The events I witnessed at Lafayette Square on the evening of June 1 were deeply disturbing to me, and to fellow National Guardsmen." https://t.co/aou4qRFJ7p
— Nicholas Wu (@nicholaswu12) July 27, 2020
Although Barr and the Trump administration insist that violent anarchists and looters were on a rampage, requiring the use of force to restore order, DeMarco says that wasn’t his experience. After being advised by Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to ensure that the National Guardsman remained calm and did not use an excessive amount of force, protesters were hit with excessive force anyway in an attempt to clear the area just prior to Trump’s walk across Lafayette Square for a photo-op in front of a church, holding a Bible upside-down.
‘DeMarco said he was coming forward “to help ensure that there is a fair factual record of what happened at Lafayette Square, based on what I saw and experienced first-hand.” He said that, having served in a combat zone and having experience in assessing threats, “at no time did I feel threatened by the protesters or assess them to be violent … From my observation, these demonstrators — our fellow American citizens — were engaged in the peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights. Yet they were subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force.”’
Army National Guard commander Adam DeMarco will testify on Tuesday that Park Police's use of force in the clearing of Lafayette Square last month was an "unnecessary" and "unprovoked" https://t.co/zYh2MeM5Eo
— BELLA (@franklin_brt) July 27, 2020
Another lie, according to DeMarco, is claims by Barr and the Trump administration that no tear gas was used against the protesters. DeMarco says that it was, that he had it in his eyes and recognized the effects of tear gas, and that canisters of tear gas were left behind following the incident.
‘As the federal and local police waded into the protesters, DeMarco said he saw smoke being used and that he was told by a Park Police officer it was “stage smoke,” not tear gas. But DeMarco said, “I could feel irritation in my eyes and nose, and based on my previous exposure to tear gas in my training at West Point and later in my Army training, I recognized that irritation as effects consistent with CS or ‘tear gas.’” He said he found spent tear gas canisters on the street later.’
Meanwhile, the top National Guard officer on scene at #LafayetteSquare will tell Congress tomorrow that the administration is lying about not using tear gas and will say he saw federal agents use "excessive force" against "peaceful" "fellow Americans." https://t.co/pALbXAsDek pic.twitter.com/HywMJElRaF
— Andrew Crespo (@AndrewMCrespo) July 27, 2020
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