D.C. Police Coordinated with Trump to Tear-Gas Peaceful Protesters

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[Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law]
Kristen Clarke: “The footage shows that D.C. police officers willingly participated alongside federal law enforcement in the Lafayette Square assault on protesters."
Photo: YouTube

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham is accused of working in tandem with Bill Barr's action, on behalf of Donald Trump, to teargas peaceful protesters.

Civil rights groups led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a motion Wednesday to add Washington D.C. Chief of Police, Peter Newsham, and unnamed D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers as defendants in the early-June Black Lives Matter D.C. v. Trump lawsuit.

The original suit included defendants, President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and other senior White House officials for violating the constitutional rights of protesters in Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020.

“Chief Newsham and his officers have a duty to protect the public not work hand-in-glove with the president to assault the public,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The footage shows that D.C. police officers willingly participated alongside federal law enforcement in the Lafayette Square assault on protesters even as they pleaded for medical attention. The D.C. police department's complicity in the federal government's assault on those peacefully protesting police violence and racial injustice stands as an affront to the First Amendment rights of residents inside our nation's capital.”

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the ACLU of the District of Columbia, and Arnold & Porter also added Dustin Foley and his 15-year-old daughter, identified as “E.X.F.,” as plaintiffs in the case.

Foley and E.X.F. had come downtown to protest and deliver peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and water to protestors at Lafayette Square. When federal law enforcement agents started clearing the square for President Trump’s appearance in front of St. John’s Church, they pushed protesters westward on H Street.

Foley and E.X.F. fled towards 17th St., where they encountered a formation of MPD officers blocking two sides of the intersection. Foley and his daughter were already coughing from the chemicals unleashed by the federal officers, and as they turned away from the MPD line, the officers fired additional tear gas at them. When Foley stopped to tend to E.X.F., who was suffering severe effects from the tear gas, and alerted MPD officers to their medical distress, the officers responded by ordering them to keep moving directly into a cloud of additional tear gas.


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