NYT: William Barr Personally Ordered Clearing Of Protesters In Lafayette Park
Attorney General William Barr personally ordered the dispersing of protesters from Lafayette Park on Monday evening and was aware that tactics such as tear gas might be used to accomplish the task, according to The New York Times.
A Justice Department official who was not authorized to discuss the situation told The Times that the park was supposed to be cleared prior to President Donald Trump’s photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
After protests through the weekend left the church damaged from fire and the Treasury Department building defaced, “top federal law enforcement officials decided that increased security measures were needed around the White House, including expanding the perimeter around the park.”
Barr discovered on Monday that this had not yet happened, “but there was not enough time to do it before Mr. Trump made a speech in the Rose Garden, declaring himself a friend to peaceful protest,” The Times reported.
The Justice Department confirmed that Barr is “managing the federal law enforcement response to the ongoing protests against police brutality.”
The attorney general said on Tuesday that “there will be even greater law enforcement resources” in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday evening.
The decision to break up the peaceful protest with forceful tactics was met with criticism from “clergy members and political leaders of both parties.”