Barr personally ordered law enforcement to push back Lafayette Square protesters: report

Attorney General William Barr personally ordered for the perimeter near the White House to be extended, pushing protesters away from Lafayette Square shortly before President Trump spoke in the area on Monday night, The Washington Post reported.

Two federal law enforcement officials told the newspaper that Barr and other officials made the decision late Sunday or early Monday to extend the perimeter around Lafayette Square, across from the White House, by one block.

Barr found the perimeter had not yet been extended Monday afternoon and ordered law enforcement officials to complete the extension, according to the Post. Law enforcement officers pushed protesters away from the area shortly before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew.

“He conferred with them to check on the status and basically said: ‘This needs to be done. Get it done,'” a Justice Department official told the newspaper.

Shortly after Barr’s order, police dispersed the peaceful crowd using tear gas, horses and riot shields.

The official told the Post that the attorney general had “assumed that any resistance from the protesters of being moved would be met with typical crowd-control measures” and that Barr had been told a bottle had been thrown in his direction.

“This plan was happening, regardless of any plans of the president,” the official said.

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.

Shortly after the park was cleared on Monday, Trump left the White House with other officials, including Barr, and walked through the cleared area to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church to pose for a photograph.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said Tuesday that she “didn’t see any provocation that would warrant munitions, especially for the purpose of moving the president across the street.”

Nearly every major American city has seen demonstrations following the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes despite Floyd’s protests that he was unable to breathe.

Tags Donald Trump George Floyd Lafayette Park Muriel Bowser tear gas William Barr

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