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National Guard Officer Says Police Used ‘Excessive’ Force at White House Clash

2020-07-28 18:26:13
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WASHINGTON — An Army National Guard officer who was called in to enforce the crackdown on protests in Lafayette Square last month will tell lawmakers that the demonstrators were peaceful and “subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force,” according to written testimony made public on Monday.

Maj. Adam DeMarco, an Iraq war veteran who currently serves in the District of Columbia National Guard, will testify on Tuesday before a House panel investigating the clash, giving the latest account of how Park Police and Secret Service officers violently cleared protesters away from the White House. He intends to testify that the harsh actions were taken without provocation or adequate warning just before President Trump walked through the area with senior administration officials to stage a photo event in front of a historic church.

“From my observation, those demonstrators — our fellow American citizens — were engaged in the peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights,” Major DeMarco will say, according to the advance text of his remarks. “Yet they were subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force.”

The shocking clash on June 1, yards from the White House, produced stunning images as mounted police and riot officers routed demonstrators with smoke, flash grenades and tear gas, minutes after Mr. Trump declared himself “your president of law and order” and “an ally of all peaceful protesters.” Those events have prompted lawmakers, infuriated by the violent scene, to investigate who ordered the attack on protesters and why.

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