Rep. Connolly demands answers for ‘unwarranted attack’ on DC protesters

U.S. Park Police string security tape around Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 1, 2020. (AFP via Getty Images/Mandel Ngan)

A Northern Virginia congressman is demanding answers from the U.S. Secret Service after it and other law enforcement agencies reportedly used weapons to disperse peaceful protesters across from the White House on Monday.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., has sent a letter to the head of the Secret Service, calling for information related to what he called an “unwarranted attack on peaceful demonstrators.”

Connolly, like many congressional Democrats, is critical of the forceful action to move protesters out of Lafayette Square on Monday evening, shortly before President Donald Trump walked with aides across the park to St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Connolly has written to Secret Service Director James Murray, requesting documents and information related to the use of tear gas and rubber bullets for what the congressman said was “for the purposes of facilitating a photo opportunity” for the president. Trump posed for cameras with a bible in front of the church.

“While the Secret Service is tasked with protecting the President of the United States, it is not a tool of fascism, and the conduct and operations of the Secret Service cannot be allowed to infringe upon the constitutional rights of the American people for the purposes of serving the President’s personal vanity,” Connolly said.

Connolly chairs the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and is a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

His letter requests documents or communications related to the president’s walk to the church; any documents regarding personnel who have objected to targeting of peaceful protesters; documents related to policies of the Secret Serves and treatment of protesters; and documents related to orders given by the president.

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