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[BREAKING] New Report Says Police Didn’t Clear Lafayette Park for Trump Bible Photo Op

The Interior Department’s Inspector General has released a new report that has determined U.S. Park Police did not clear Lafayette Park and the nearby area of protesters on June 1, 2020, specifically so that Donald Trump could walk from the White House over to St. John’s Church. According to the report, the Park Police learned of Trump’s interest in “surveying the site” hours after they already had begun planning to clear the area to put up new fencing, according to the new watchdog report.

Trump, accompanied by top officials and with great fanfare, walked over to the church, damaged by fire the night before, minutes after protesters were cleared and following a Rose Garden speech promising to crack down on violent protests, ending his remarks by saying, “… and now I am going to pay my respects to a very, very special place.”

He then stood for photos while very clearly holding a Bible upside down.

US President Donald Trump holds a Bible while visiting St. John’s Church across from the White House after the area was cleared of people protesting the death of George Floyd on June 1, 2020, in Washington, DC. – US President Donald Trump was due to make a televised address to the nation on Monday after days of anti-racism protests against police brutality that have erupted into violence. The White House announced that the president would make remarks imminently after he has been criticized for not publicly addressing the crisis in recent days. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

 

The report did not determine whether law enforcement acted inappropriately against demonstrators last year, but found that poor communication between agencies and ineffective dispersal warnings “may have contributed to confusion during the operation and the use of tactics that appeared inconsistent” with initial plans.

The office also concluded that the Park Police officers acted within their authority to begin clearing Lafayette Square and nearby before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew, a move that was widely criticized at the time as having contributed to the chaos and confusion at the scene.

Citing interviews, radio dispatches, videos, and other records from Park Police, the 38-page report echoes claims from senior Trump administration officials last year that the park wasn’t cleared for Trump’s controversial photo op.

 

The report doesn’t expand on why so many officers used as much force as they did against peaceful protesters in the area that day or dig deeper into the actions of the Secret Service and other federal entities on the ground. Regarding claims of violent tactics used against protestors, the report said only that “individual uses of force” by Park Police officers “are the subject of separate inquiries or ongoing lawsuits.”

Given the narrow focus of its report on whether the U.S. Park Police exceeded its authority on June 1, the Inspector General did not seek interviews with other key agencies and senior Trump administration officials, including leaders of the Secret Service, White House aides, or Attorney General Bill Barr.

 



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