UPDATE June 13, 2020: In assisting the USSS with their protective mission of the White House Zone, more than 50 U.S. Park Police Officers sustained injuries, some being hospitalized, throughout the operational period starting on May 29th. This illegal behavior by the protestors also resulted in several structure fires and significant property damage. This is indisputable.
Following the violence that continued on May 30th where officers were hit with bricks and assaulted, the USSS and USPP had initial discussions regarding adjustments to the collective posture in Lafayette Park and potentially obtaining fencing. As violence and destruction continued in Washington, DC, putting both the public and law enforcement at risk, on Sunday, May 31, USSS confirmed with USPP that the anti-scale fencing would be procured and potentially delivered on Monday for installation along H Street.
On Monday, June 1, USPP received confirmation from the USSS that the fencing would be delivered during the day with the expectation of being installed in the evening. Both agencies concurred with a plan to clear H Street to prevent a repeat of the protestors’ attacks and destruction that occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and to create a safe environment for the fence to be installed. Pedestrians were to be moved from the immediate area of the 1600 block of H Street to the following points: H Street & Connecticut Avenue on the west, 16th & I Streets to the north, H St. east of Vermont Avenue to the east.
The timing of implementing the plan was contingent upon having enough resources on scene. Given that the majority of law enforcement personnel did not report until later in the day, a late afternoon or early evening operation was inevitable.
Reiterating my previous statement, at approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW continued to throw projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson the previous day. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.
To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following standard operating procedures, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area. As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, grab officer’s protective equipment, and even attempted to grab one officers’ weapon, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters, stinger balls, and pepper balls. On June 1, USPP officers and other assisting law enforcement partners operating under the command of the USPP did not use tear gas or Skat Shells to close the area at Lafayette Park. Subsequently, the fence was installed.
This operation to secure the area and install the fence – that had been discussed as early as two days prior – was completely irrespective of the President’s later movement from the White House and unbeknownst to U.S. Park Police.
The installation of the fence proved to successfully limit the amount of assaults and injuries sustained by Force personnel. The amount of injuries dramatically decreased beginning June 2, 2020 throughout the rest of the week. It also allowed for time, space and manner for those who wished to peacefully demonstrate.