Pelosi demands Trump clarify deployment of unidentified law enforcement in DC
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday demanded that President Trump provide a list of the agencies involved in deploying law enforcement officers around Washington, D.C., in response to the crowds of demonstrators protesting police brutality.
Some officers policing protests in the city in recent days have been seen without any identifying labels on their uniforms, raising questions about which law enforcement agencies they represent.
In a letter to Trump, Pelosi wrote that “we are concerned about the increased militarization and lack of clarity that may increase chaos.”
“I am writing to request a full list of the agencies involved and clarifications of the roles and responsibilities of the troops and federal law enforcement resources operating in the city. Congress and the American people need to know who is in charge, what is the chain of command, what is the mission, and by what authority is the National Guard from other states operating in the capital,” Pelosi wrote.
At least two Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), have called for legislation that would require federal law enforcement officers in uniform to clearly identify their affiliation.
Protests have erupted across the nation over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died during a Minneapolis police arrest last week.
Law enforcement personnel near the White House on Wednesday did not wear any identifiers while dressed in mixed riot gear, shields and weapons.
“The practice of officers operating with full anonymity undermines accountability, ignites government distrust and suspicion, and is counter to the principle of procedural justice and legitimacy during this precarious moment in our nation’s history,” Pelosi wrote. “As peaceful people all over the country turn out to honor the memory of George Floyd and protest for change, we must ensure that their safety and their constitutional rights are being respected.”
House Democrats are preparing legislation to be considered in the coming weeks to make police reforms in response to the protests. Pelosi joined a crowd of demonstrators outside the Capitol on Wednesday.
Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) leaders announced Thursday that they would be introducing legislation to amend the Insurrection Act, which allows the president to deploy the National Guard or the military in certain circumstances like containing riots, including without a state’s permission. The CPC leaders said that their legislation would require congressional approval before troops could be deployed under the law.
“Deploying the military in an attempt to quash these protests would be an attack on our constitution, our democracy, and our people. Congress must send an unequivocal message that this grotesque abuse of power will be stopped,” Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said in a joint statement.