State Watch

Thousands of National Guard troops could begin leaving DC on Monday, commander says

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Thousands more National Guard troops called in from other states during protests over the death of George Floyd could begin leaving Washington, D.C. as early as Monday, the commander of the D.C. National Guard told CNN.

The nearly 4,000 additional National Guard forces “will be redeploying this week. Probably as early as Monday,” Maj. Gen. William J. Walker said.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy also told the network that several nights of peaceful protests after earlier incidents of looting and property damage have increased the likelihood of withdrawing the out-of-state troops.

“Well, we’re looking very hard at that. I think that if we look at the trend that we’re on right now we’re in very good shape and we’re looking at that option very closely,” McCarthy said, citing the large but incident-free crowds that gathered in the nation’s capital on Saturday. The secretary of the Army oversees the D.C. National Guard, as do governors for their states’ equivalents.

Walker also denied National Guard involvement in the Monday evening clearance of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park before President Trump traveled to a nearby church for a photo op. Park Police initially said tear gas was not used before walking back the denial.

“They held the line, they never advanced on the crowd,” Walker said, referring to National Guard members.

Walker also said the troops had only been present as a last resort throughout the protests.

“Drive around, you’ll see the National Guard and what you see is the National Guard in what we call the second row, maybe the third row, so there’s federal agencies, federal law enforcement, United States Park Police, United States Secret Service, then you might see National Guardsmen. So if you get to a Guardsman, a lot has gone wrong,” he added.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has repeatedly asked both Trump and state governors to remove out-of-town National Guard members from the city.

Tags Black Lives Matter D.C. National Guard Donald Trump George Floyd George Floyd protests Muriel Bowser Ryan McCarthy Washington D.C. Wiliam Walker

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