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.
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.
BREAKING: Interior Dept. IG report says police cleared protesters from D.C.'s Lafayette Park over fencing installation, not for Trump photo op, @KenDilanianNBC reports. "A narrative we thought we knew is not the reality." #MTPDaily
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 9, 2021
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.”
Soooooo the cops blasted protestors at Lafayette Park for the fence being constructed around the WH (ordered by *checks notes* that scaredy cat Trump during the George Floyd protests) & not TFG's Walk Of Shame, after all?See Also
That record, um…stands corrected, I guess? 🤣🤣🤣
— poetry by numbers (13/10/7) (@Poetryin13) June 9, 2021
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.