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 on Tuesday that police forcibly evacuated protesters from a park outside the White House last June to allow a contractor to install security fences so then-President Donald Trump would not criticize widely Photo shoot can perform a Bible.
But the watchdog’s report also accused U.S. park police for failing to give eviction warnings loud enough to racial justice protesters loud enough to hear before evicting Lafayette Park on the 1st of tear gas to do the job .
And the report by the Inspector General of the Home Office specifically failed to address allegations that police used excessive force against individual protesters and reporters, saying, “These are the subject of separate investigations and ongoing legal proceedings.”
Protests began around Lafayette Park on May 29, 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, a black man, by Minneapolis police.
Police began searching the protesters’ park at 6:23 p.m. on June 1, 2020 and ended the operation at 6:50 p.m., the Inspector General’s report said.
Eleven minutes later, the report said Trump “walked from the White House through Lafayette Park to nearby St. John’s Church.”
Riot police chase a man as they rush protesters to clear Lafayette Park and the surrounding area across from the White House for President Donald Trump to go over for a photo opportunity during a rally against St. John’s Episcopal Church of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody near the White House in Washington June 1, 2020.
Ken Cedeno | Reuters
The Republican president, who had criticized the protests that gripped the nation following Floyd’s assassination, then held up a Bible for television and still cameras to capture.
Trump was not put on his escorted uniform on his way through the park by then Attorney General William Barr, then Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and US Army General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was dressed in camouflage uniform.
According to the report, a contractor started assembling and installing the new fence at 7:30 p.m. and finished the work in about five hours.
“The evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP evacuated the park for a contractor in response to the destruction of federal property and violation of officials on June 30, a statement published with the report.
The report confirmed Barr’s claim, made less than a week after the CBS News’ Face the Nation incident, that “This was not an operation to respond to that particular crowd. It was an operation to the perimeter move a block “. . “”
When I arrived on Monday [June 1] I knew we had to increase the perimeter on this side of Lafayette Park and move it a block out, “Barr said on the show.” That decision was made by me in the morning. It was communicated to all police authorities. “
The attorney general said the media “missed” this fact when reporting on Trump’s photo op.
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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.”
President Donald Trump walks to St John’s Church with US Attorney General William Barr (L), US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper (C), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley (R) and others from the White House, after the area was vacated by people protesting the death of George Floyd on June 1, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP via Getty Images
Trump released a statement later on Wednesday thanking Greenblatt for “giving me full and complete relief in the clearing of Lafayette Park!”
“As we have been saying all along, and this has been confirmed in today’s very detailed and professionally written report, our fine park police made the decision to vacate the park so that a contractor can safely install a lime protection fence to protect themselves from Antifa rioters and radical BLM. to protect protesters and other violent protesters that are causing chaos and death in our cities, “said Trump.
“In this case they tried to burn down the church the day before the clearing. Fortunately, we were there to keep the fire from spreading beyond the basement – and it was a great honor and privilege to do so. Thanks again to the Inspector General! “