Unarmed members of D.C. National Guard will provide additional security for monuments in Washington, D.C., amid cries for many to be taken down and vandalism of statues and landmarks across the country.
“The District of Columbia National Guard is responding to a request to support law enforcement officials and has dispatched unarmed personnel, with others on stand-by,” spokesman Major Robert Perino told CNN.
“Activated Guardsmen are expected to provide security for local monuments and critical infrastructure.”
The National Park Police reportedly made the request for assistance, and a defense official told CNN that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy signed a Tuesday memo authorizing the activation of the National Guard.
President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that anyone who vandalizes or destroys a monument or statue could face up to 10 years in prison.
“This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!” he tweeted.
…..This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
“Earlier today, I instructed the erection of a fence at Lafayette Plaza as well as at St. John’s Church. And we will protect these monuments and we will do it with the dispatch and severity last night,” he said.
“Our Park Police and the Metro D.C. Police, as well as the U.S. Secret Service uniformed patrol, did an excellent job in addressing the issue and rapidly protecting the statue. And those activities will continue.”
“These people are exceptional,” Bernhardt added. “They’re dedicated, and they are dealing with the savage, highly significant situation.”
About 5,000 National Guard troops were called to patrol D.C. earlier this month, CNN reported, as protests continued in response to George Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for roughly nine minutes during an arrest.
“The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans,” she wrote.
Barr responded in a letter of his own that said federal officers were operating under federal and local laws, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The television footage of these events — viewed by people across the nation and around the world — conveyed the impression that the United States was on the brink of losing control of its capital city,” he wrote.
“Surely you understand that the President could not stand idly by when unrest at the seat of the federal government threatened the safety of federal law enforcement officers and the operations of the United States government.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.