As protests give way to violent and destructive riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death, U.S. Attorney General William Barr has announced his response to the recent developments.
According to the Washington Examiner, Barr has dispatched federal riot personnel to Miami, Florida, and Washington, D.C., in an effort to quell the unrest in those cities.
The news came as President Donald Trump spoke to reporters from the Rose Garden amid rioting in the nation’s capital. His administration indicated that he was prepared to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy U.S. troops to American cities if governors and local leaders did not gain control over the demonstrators.
“Kicked, punched, and exposed to bodily fluids”
According to a source in the U.S. Department of Justice, Trump also ordered Barr to clear protesters out of Lafayette Square, which is located near the White House, on Monday. The president then walked through the park for a photo opportunity in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, the historic structure burned by rioters over the weekend.
Demonstrations have turned violent near the White House, according to a Secret Service statement confirming that agents and personnel were “kicked, punched, and exposed to bodily fluids” while protecting U.S. officials.
“Throughout those demonstrations, no individuals have crossed the White House fence line and no Secret Service protectees have been in danger,” the statement continued.
Invoking federal forces and military personnel in response to the ongoing civil unrest has resulted in harsh criticism from groups including the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.
“Whatever it takes to restore order”
Hina Shamsi, the group’s director, called it “irresponsible and dangerous” in a statement on Monday, asserting that no “level-headed governor is asking for an even more militarized response to civilian protests against police brutality and systemic racism — for good reason.”
Shamsi urged the president not to “cause the country and its people even more harm” by ordering the “deployment of military personnel, who are generally not trained for civilian law enforcement.”
While the escalation has even been panned by some Republicans, other Trump allies are in favor of the military move.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) endorsed using troops and “whatever it takes to restore order” after days of protests.
Trump’s tough talk is apparently being backed up by his attorney general. While it might rub a lot of Americans the wrong way, it is clear that many of the president’s ardent supporters are behind his call to deploy the U.S. military on their home soil if necessary.