Park Police Chief: My Goons Showed ‘Tremendous Restraint’ When Assaulting US Citizens, Foreign News Crews
On June 1, Donald Trump had American civilians in Lafayette Square teargassed and beaten so he could have a photo-op with Ivanka's designer Bible outside a church. It was a horrific moment in a horrific presidency, but the sick lesson of Trump's White House occupation is that there's no order so terrible, so inhuman, that someone won't willingly carry it out for him.
Gregory T. Monahan is the acting chief of the Park Police, which reportedly has a reputation for a reckless “cowboy culture." Monahan unleashed officers in riot gear on peaceful protesters, and used flash grenades and tear gas to clear the area for the wannabe tinpot dictator.
Monahan testified before the House National Resources Committee Tuesday and absurdly claimed that the Park Police's actions were taken to "protect life and property" from the “bad actors" running for their lives. He must think we're pretty dumb because the Park Police's armed bum rush of protesters was filmed for all to see.
American Carnage at Lafayette Square www.youtube.com
Maj. Adam DeMarco, an Iraq War veteran, is a member of the District of Columbia National Guard and was called in to help enforce the crackdowns against protesters last month. He testified Tuesday that protesters were "subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force."
The Guard's job on June 1, according to DeMarco, wasn't to clear protesters but to “hold a static line" around the White House. He was surprised when the Park Police ordered protesters to evacuate the park 40 minutes before curfew began.
From the New York Times:
"From where I was standing, approximately 20 yards from the demonstrators, the announcements were barely audible," Major DeMarco says, "and I saw no indication that the demonstrators were cognizant of the warnings to disperse."
The Park Police allegedly lied to DeMarco, telling him that tear gas wasn't being used but DeMarco could feel the gas in his own eyes and could see the canisters on the street. (The Park Police lied to everyone.)
Monahan testified that Lafayette Square was cleared with force so that fencing could be installed, and a barrier created between the American people and the coward-in-chief. DeMarco disputed this claim. The necessary equipment didn't arrive until two hours after the evacuation order was given.
Attorney General and wartime consigliere Bill Barr grossly implied that because DeMarco ran for office as a Democrat in 2018, we shouldn't believe anything he has to say. What self-respecting cop or veteran is a Democrat anyway? Barr is a cop, after a fashion, but he's neither self-respecting nor a veteran, so he should watch his mouth.
House Democrats repeatedly confronted the Park Police's Monahan with evidence that showed he was a lying sack of shit. Rep. Mike Levin from California played the haunting video of officers assaulting an Australian news crew — hitting a cameraman in the gut with a shield and striking a woman reporter in the back with a baton while she was running away. They were treating people like cattle.
REP. LEVIN: The officers you saw in those clips, were they surging against the crowd and assaulting a news crew, yes or no?
MONAHAN: The video shows a moment in time.
I don't expect a lot from cops, but I certainly didn't expect Monahan to treat this congressional hearing like an existentialism lecture. “Congressman, we all exist within two ticks of the clock."
That's my issue with the police: They assume the worst about everyone who isn't them. You can't trust their descriptions of events because when Monahan testifies that protesters became “physically combative," he could just mean that protesters were pointing their fingers at cops while shouting at them. Meanwhile, he can't confirm that his officers were straight-up attacking a news crew. He claimed there's an “ongoing investigation." It's been almost two months. You only need two minutes to solve the mystery of whether hitting women in the back is wrong.
This is all sickly on brand for Monahan. As a Park Police patrol officer almost 20 years ago, he was accused of conducting unlawful body cavity searches and providing unreliable testimony. He was cleared internally, but there's no compelling reason we should believe him when he claims that Lafayette Square was "one of the most violent protests that I've been a part of in my 23 years" or that his goons "acted with tremendous restraint in the face of severe violence."
When George Orwell wrote in 1984 that “the party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command," that was a sober warning, not recommendations for a police training manual. We know what we saw on June 1, and Monahan should answer for it.
Stephen Robinson on Twitter.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).