President Donald Trump holds a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church after walking across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP via Getty Images
The Home Office’s watchdog claimed in a new report Tuesday that police forcibly evacuated protesters from a park outside the White House last June in order to “allow a contractor” to install new security fences, not to the then president Donald Trump takes the stage to allow a much-criticized photo op while he is brandishing a Bible.
But the watchdog’s report also accused U.S. park police of failing to provide dispersal warnings loud enough to protesters loud enough to hear all before the evacuation of Lafayette Park began on June 1, 2020.
And the report specifically ignored allegations that police used excessive force against individual protesters and reporters, saying, “These are the subject of separate investigations and ongoing legal proceedings.”
“The evidence we checked showed that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park for a contractor in response to the destruction of federal property and violation of civil servants on Jan.
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“In addition, the evidence showed that relevant USPP officials had made these decisions and started executing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a possible visit by the president to the park later that day,” Greenblatt wrote.
“As a result, we have determined that the evidence does not support the finding that the USPP evacuated the park on June 1, 2020 so that President Trump could enter the park.”
Protesters shout “hands up, don’t shoot” while tear gas is in the air. A large group of protesters lingered on the edge (the square itself was cordoned off) of Lafayette Square late to protest against racism and President Trump fired tear gas, pepper spray pellets and concussion grenades in the early hours of May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC used to control them.
Michael S. Williamson | The Washington Post | Getty Images
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