WASHINGTON — U.S. Park Police and other law enforcement agencies moved in on protesters at Lafayette Square on Monday before President Donald Trump left the Whtie House and made a trip to St. John's Church to take pictures and meet with the media.
The move by President Donald Trump came after his Rose Garden speech on violence amid protests over George Floyd's death. And it has been criticized due to its timing, which was right before the 7 p.m. curfew for the District on Monday. Protesters were driven from the area by force and reportedly through the use of tear gas, smoke, pepper and rubber bullets.
U.S. Park Police commented in a statement and said, "Many of the protesters then became very violent, hurling bricks and other projectiles at officers......We want to be clear that no tear gas was used by U.S. Park Police officers to clear the area."
WUSA9's Nathan Baca was at the protests on Monday near Lafayette Park. He showed canisters that are believed to be tear gas. The product is a CM Skat Shell made by Defense Technology that "is widely used as a crowd management tool for the rapid and broad deployment of chemical agent."
Timeline of events that took place at St. John's Church and Lafayette Square:
6:29 p.m. — Park Police and other law enforcement agencies working the federal officials move closer to protest fence around Lafayette Park.
6:35 p.m. to 6:39 p.m. — Tear gas, smoke, pepper bullets are fired at protesters multiple times, and Park Police moves in on spaces where protesters are congregated.
6:44 p.m. — President Donald Trump delivers his speech from the Rose Garden, calling for tougher responses by law enforcement in major cities amid "Justice for Goerge Floyd" protests across America and calls for the National Guard to be deployed.
7:02 p.m. — President Donald Trump departs White House and is seen walking toward Lafayette Park on his way to St. John's Episcopal Church.
7:06 p.m. — President Donald Trump arrives at St. John's Church, along with Attorney General William Barr and others in his administration. He has a photo op with the media. St. John's Church had its nursery and basement burned by protesters late Monday evening.
Justice for George Floyd" protests sparked after a video surfaced showing George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer.
Protests erupted nationwide after a Memorial Day viral video showed Floyd being pinned down by his neck by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Floyd, who is repeatedly heard in the video saying he can't breath and asking for Chauvin to get off his neck, died that day.
DC's George Floyd protests continue through Monday
The Minneapolis mayor last Tuesday fired all four officers involved in the incident. On Friday, Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. But the other three officers who were involved in the incident have not yet been arrested or charged, with prosecutors in Minnesota on Friday saying that charges are likely forthcoming.