ACLU calls for independent investigation of Lafayette Square incident

One left-wing group is calling for an investigation of a recent riot, and for Attorney General William Barr to be precluded from it.

Fox News reports that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has requested the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate law enforcement’s clearing of Washington D.C.’s Lafayette Square on June 1st. 


Readers will likely recall the incident that took place on June 1st, back when protests were being held in Washington D.C. over the death of George Floyd.

This day will particularly stand out because it is the one during which President Donald Trump’s so-called photo-op took place in front of St. John’s, the famous church that the “protestors” set on fire.

What the ACLU wants to be investigated are the moments that led up to that “photo-op,” namely, the clearing of Lafayette Square.

“Attorney General Bill Barr and other administration officials appear to have criminally conspired to violently attack lawful demonstrators and all signs indicate they have since been engaged in a concerted cover up effort,” the ACLU said in a statement. “History books will certainly remember Bill Barr for the crimes of the Trump administration, but a full, independent investigation now is necessary to hold him and any other officials who may be responsible for this chilling incident accountable today.”

The controversy

Since the incident, Democrats have called attention to the way in which the park was cleared. They claim that law enforcement used tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful demonstrators.

Park Police, however, have stated that this is not the case. Instead, they have reported that they used pepper balls and smoke canisters but only after these protestors had hurled projectiles of their own at the police.

Democrats – and now the ACLU – have also tried to implicate Barr in this perceived wrongdoing. The Trump administration has said that Barr asked for the police perimeter to be extended prior to Trump’s trip to St. John’s, but Barr, himself, has said that his “attitude was get it done” but that he did not say, “Go do it.”

The ACLU now wants the specifics of what happened to be figured out. They wrote:

The American people deserve to know with certainty what happened that day, particularly who gave the order to use violent force to clear demonstrators and journalists who were exercising their constitutionally protected rights, under what authority, and why, and they deserve to have any responsible officials who violated the law held accountable. The appointment of an outside special counsel is a necessary step to ensure justice.

“Outside” investigators only

The ACLU, addressing Barr, added, “Given your own acknowledged role in ordering the clearing of Lafayette Square, you must take all necessary steps to ensure that you and others involved in the ordering and carrying out of the use of force have no role in the appointment or supervision of the special counsel.

Given that the Trump administration has already addressed this incident many times, that it has already been and is being looked into, and that law enforcement has already clarified a large part of what happened that day, it is unlikely that this letter is going to go anywhere – but into Mr. Barr’s wastebasket.

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