On Tuesday, US Department of the Interior Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt released a report whitewashing the violent and unconstitutional actions of the US Park Police (USPP) in clearing Lafayette Park of anti-police violence protesters on June 1, 2020. The police-military assault took place a week after the police murder of George Floyd, which sparked nationwide and global multi-racial and multi-ethnic protests against police killings.
The report was released less than two weeks after the Biden administration’s Department of Justice argued in federal court in support of the Trump administration’s decision to use local and federal police and paramilitary forces to disperse the peaceful protesters. This was carried out in conjunction with a speech by Trump in the White House Rose Garden in which the then-president denounced the nationwide mass protests, threatened to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act and deploy troops to crush them, and declared himself “your president of law and order.”
Even as police and federal forces continued to beat and gas demonstrators, Trump, accompanied by then-Attorney General William Barr and Gen. Mark Milley, who remains the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, marched to nearby St. John’s Church for a photo op of him standing and holding up a bible.
Trump’s intention to carry out a coup d’état then and there was blocked due to opposition from within the military command, which deemed such a move ill-prepared and unduly risky, under conditions of massive demonstrations in cities and even rural locations in virtually every part of the US.
The Interior Department inspector general’s report, unbelievably, claims that the Park Police, in conjunction with the US Secret Service, decided to clear the park of roughly 1,000 protesters without knowing that Trump would be giving a speech. This farcical claim is made despite the fact that the Park Police and the Secret Service were the two agencies leading the operation. Moreover, the request for the secure fencing had come the day before from within the Secret Service.
“[T]he evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day,” writes Greenblatt.
In response to the release of the report, would-be dictator Trump issued a statement thanking the inspector general for “Completely and Totally exonerating me in the clearing of Lafayette Park!”
The report claims that the earliest the USPP incident commander became aware that Trump was planning on making an appearance in the park was between 3 and 5 p.m., but that the decision to clear the park had been made earlier that day.
According to the report, the USPP, along with the deputy chief of the Secret Service, had decided earlier in the day to clear the park once security fencing to be placed around the White House had arrived. This followed multiple days of protests in the park and outside the White House.
Since no radio logs from the USPP leadership were recorded that day, it is impossible to verify the accuracy of the report or the statements given by the 20 police and National Park Service personnel who were interviewed for the investigation.
Testifying to the ongoing cover-up and intentionally limited scope of the investigation, the inspector general did not examine the illegal and unconstitutional use of force by the police, which included the firing of pepper balls, baton strikes and the use of CS gas against non-violent protesters and journalists. Several sections in the 41-page document are blacked out or redacted without explanation.
The inspector general did not interview anyone outside of the USPP or National Park Service. Those not questioned include then-Attorney General William Barr, who is cited in the report, as well as White House personnel, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officers, D.C. Metropolitan Police and Secret Service personnel. This is despite the fact that all the mentioned entities participated in the assault, with the Secret Service deputy chief and USPP incident commander leading the joint operation that day.
The report claims that plans to clear the park for the installation of the fencing began at 10:00 a.m. on June 1. The document states that the request for the fencing was made by the Secret Service and that the park was to be cleared as soon as the fencing contractor had the material and labor ready for installation, which did not take place until 4 p.m.
The report notes that the USPP commander saw Barr emerge from the White House after 6 p.m., at which time he allegedly told Barr that the area was unsafe. The commander then claimed to Inspector General Greenblatt that Barr responded by asking him why people were still outside the White House and that he thought it would have been cleared by then.
The report states: “The USPP operations commander said the Attorney General asked him, ‘Are these people still going to be here when POTUS [President of the United States] comes out?’”
It cites the commander as stating he did not know that Trump would be speaking, replying to Barr, “Are you freaking kidding me?”
The report continues: “The commander claimed that Barr did not order him to clear the park and that the attorney general was ‘not in his chain of command’ and that clearing the park had ‘nothing to do with [him] or the President wanting to come out.’”
While the report claims no evidence exists that Trump ordered the USPP to clear the park, in a statement accompanying the report, Greenblatt elucidates two “weaknesses” of the operation to clear the park, including the fact that the Secret Service had deployed agents against protesters prior to the USPP issuing orders to disperse, and that the USPP and the Secret Service were not operating on the same radio channels.
Greenblatt also notes that despite the police having access to a Long Range Acoustic Device, the orders to disperse given by USPP were not heard by many of those in attendance, including police on the ground as well as protesters.
Testifying to the ongoing cover-up regarding Trump’s attempted June 1 coup and the role various federal agencies played in facilitating his dictatorial aims, the report notes that Bureau of Prisons (BOP) personnel were dispatched to Lafayette Park to carry out the operation despite not being requested by the USPP acting chief, Gregory Monahan, or the USPP incident commander.
Greenblatt writes that neither party requested “the BOP’s assistance and did not know who dispatched them to Lafayette Park on June 1.”