AG Barr knew Lafayette Square protestors were peaceful: DC National Guard member

AG Barr knew Lafayette Square protestors were peaceful: DC National Guard member
President Donald J. Trump walks from the White House Monday evening, June 1, 2020, to St. John’s Episcopal Church, known as the church of Presidents’s, that was damaged by fire during demonstrations in nearby LaFayette Square Sunday evening. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr have drawn widespread criticism for the president’s actions on Monday, June 1, when Washington, D.C. police violently removed nonviolent protestors from Lafayette Square in order to clear a path for the president to make a speech and enjoy a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church nearby. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, was briefed on the events by a member of the D.C. National Guard — and according to New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel, the takeaway is that Barr was told the protestors were peaceful.

In a June 7 press release, Norton describes “an eyewitness account given to” her “by a National Guard member who was on duty” in the nation’s capital that day. According to Norton’s press release, “Three warnings were given, but the peaceful crowd was too large for most to hear the warnings. The sudden use of smoke and pepper balls caused pandemonium. A horse cavalry pushed the crowd from H street to Connecticut Avenue. The D.C. National Guard member spoke to Attorney General Barr, who was in charge, and explained that the crowd was peaceful, but troops from federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons, remained.”

The account went on to say, “At the time the horse cavalry cleared the way for the president and his entourage to go to the church, no additional assets had been found to be necessary — and the D.C. National Guard has remained able to handle the peaceful crowds since.”

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