After rampant claims by the mainstream media that police in Washington, D.C., used tear gas to disperse protesters so that President Trump could visit St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday, pushback began, with a Park Police source asserting “tear gas was never used — instead smoke canisters were deployed, which don’t have an uncomfortable irritant in them.”
On Wednesday, appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a statement indicating that she wasn’t sure the claims of tear gas being used were accurate, admitting, “Maybe they didn’t have tear gas, I don’t know.” On Tuesday, Pelosi had stated, “We would hope that the president of the United States would follow the lead of so many other presidents and be a healer in chief and not a fanner of the flame,” The New York Times reported.
On Tuesday, Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist cited numerous media outlets which reported tear gas was used. She wrote:
After thousands of false tweets, print stories, and broadcast stories to the contrary, local journalist Neal Augenstein of WTOP reported that a Park Police source said “tear gas was never used — instead smoke canisters were deployed, which don’t have an uncomfortable irritant in them.” Further, the source said the crowd was dispersed because of projectiles being thrown by the “peaceful protesters” at the Park Police and because “peaceful protesters” had climbed on top of a structure in Lafayette Park that had been burned the prior night.
Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, the public information officer for the Park Police, said the Park Police had not utilized tear gas. United States Park Police acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan issued a statement on Tuesday reading:
On Monday, June 1, the USPP worked with the United States Secret Service to have temporary fencing installed inside Lafayette Park. At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.
To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following established policy, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area. As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park. Subsequently, the fence was installed.
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