4th day of DC protests saw marchers hit with smoke, rubber bullets

Editor’s note: Some scenes in the video below contain offensive language.

D.C. on Monday saw its fourth day of protests over the death of George Floyd, who pleaded for air as a Minneapolis officer pressed a knee into his neck last week. Police used smoke canisters, rubber bullets and low-flying helicopters to break up the marchers as the city imposed a curfew to tamp down any potential violence and vandalism.

Minutes before D.C.’s Monday night curfew started, President Donald Trump threatened the use of the U.S. military if states did not have more control over the widespread protests.

Here’s the latest from the fourth consecutive night of protests.

The latest

  • D.C. will be under a curfew at 7 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
  • Trump threatened to use military force against protesters nationwide.
  • Arlington County pulls officers out of D.C., as the county board issues a statement condemning the killing of George Floyd.

DC gathers up protesters

D.C. police loaded up vans of protesters near 16th and I streets after the 7 p.m. curfew Monday. In Lafayette Square near the White House, there was heavy police presence in the area and protesters had largely left the scene.

Several people then gathered in other parts of the city. Hundreds of marchers on Florida Avenue NW headed toward Adams Morgan before being cornered at 15th and Swann streets, where police used flash bangs to disperse marchers.

Within sight of the Capitol building, marchers were turned back by law enforcement officers using smoke canisters, pellets and low-flying helicopters kicking up debris, The Associated Press reported. As they dispersed, some protesters smashed windows at a nearby office building.

 

With the city under a curfew, Metro also ended its rail and bus services earlier, at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. It will do the same Tuesday night.

Also after 7 p.m., a few protesters walked up to the police and managed to negotiate a peaceful resolution with the commander, with the protesters agreeing to march away from the White House, WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez reported.

 

While there were reports that tear gas was used, U.S. Park Police said they only used smoke canisters. It is unclear whether other law enforcement agencies used tear gas or other irritants on the crowd.

U.S. Park Police said that water bottles were thrown at their officers near Lafayette Park, shortly before the president visited nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church.

According to CBS News, President Trump’s trip to the historic church was meant to be a show of strength. A senior administration official tells CBS News White House Correspondent Paula Reid that the president and his top advisers wanted to convey strength and control over the situation after hearing reports that Trump was sitting in a bunker during the protests.

Protesters had been congregating at Lafayette Square and on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said during a Monday afternoon news conference.

Just before 6 p.m., pepper spray was used at the barricade in Lafayette Square while protesters were kneeling, causing them to scatter and clear the area.


A short while later, Trump gave a brief address at the White House Rose Garden and walked across Lafayette Square to be photographed in front of a church that had been burned during Sunday night’s protest.

Arlington County withdraws police, as DC mayor decries federal police’s use of munitions on protesters

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called federal police’s use of munitions on protesters in front of the White House “shameful.” She said that the methods used by law enforcement 25 minutes before the 7 p.m. curfew and without provocation by “peaceful protesters” will make the job of D.C. police more difficult.

Also Monday night, the Arlington County Board in Virginia, as well as the County Manager and police chief, directed the county’s police to leave D.C.

“The County is re-evaluating the agreements that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position that endangered their health and safety, and that of the people around them, for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations,” a county news release said.

Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said she was “appalled” that mutual aid agreements were abused to endanger “their and others safety for a photo op.”

Furthermore, the board released a statement condemning the killing of George Floyd.

Trump threatens military force against protesters; episcopal bishop condemns Trump’s response to protests, Floyd’s killing

Trump spoke from the Rose Garden ahead of the D.C. curfew, saying he was taking “swift and decisive action to protect our great capital.”

“What happened in this city last night was a total disgrace,” Trump said. “We are putting everybody on warning. Our 7 o’clock curfew will be strictly enforced.”

Members of the National Guard block an intersection on Monday night.  (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Protesters holds their hands up as a military helicopter flies low pushing a strong vertical down wash of air (rotor wash) onto the crowd during a protest over the death of George Floyd on June 1, 2020. – President Donald Trump vowed Monday to order a military crackdown on once-in-a-generation violent protests gripping the United States, saying he was sending thousands of troops onto the streets of the capital and threatening to deploy soldiers to states unable to regain control. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

D.C. Police hold a line along M Street, blocking a group of protesters on Pennsylvania Avenue from entering Georgetown. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Police blocked a group of protesters between 14th and 15th St. NW at Swann St.

Helicopters flew low late on Monday night in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood after a small number of demonstrators moved into the area. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Demonstrators wait in a police vehicle after being taken into custody as they protested the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. The arrests occurred after a curfew went into effect in Washington.

With tears in her eyes, a demonstrator is taken into custody by police after a curfew took effect during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

Demonstrators react as a helicopter circles low as people gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

A military Humvee blocks an intersection along K Street in downtown Washington as demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump walks from the White House through Lafayette Park to visit St. John’s Church Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Police begin to clear demonstrators gathered as they protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

A demonstrator is taken into custody by police after a curfew took effect during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

A demonstrator is taken into custody by police after a curfew took effect during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

Police prepare transport vehicles for people who they arrest during protests over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

U.S. Park Police string security tape around Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Workmen board up the windows of a building ahead of demonstrations against the death of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Trucks transport D.C. National Guard troops along West Executive Drive in support of law enforcement officers that are keeping demonstrators away from the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Trucks transport D.C. National Guard troops along West Executive Drive in support of law enforcement officers that are keeping demonstrators away from the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Secret Service officers stand on the roof of the West Wing while keeping watch on protesters gathered outside the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Members of the Secret Service walk past the White House as protests over the death of George Floyd continue on Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Police officers hold a perimeter near the White House as demonstrators gather to protest the killing of George Floyd on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Protesters take a knee and raise their fists in Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020.

A cyclist rides pass an armored vehicle heading towards Lafayette Square on 16th Street, as people protest the death of George Floyd, in Washington, D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

A demonstrator walks by graffiti in Lafayette Park on H Street NW, on Monday, June 1, 2020, after weekend protests sparked by the death of George Floyd occurred near the White House.

People protest the death of George Floyd near the White House in D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

People protest the death of George Floyd down the street from the White House in D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

People protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while while being arrested and pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, outside Lafayette Square near the White House in D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Vehicles for the D.C. National Guard are seen outside the D.C. Armory, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Protests have erupted across the U.S. to protest the death of Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Shattered window and door glass is scattered on the floor inside Mervis Diamond Importers in Washington, Monday, June 1, 2020, after a night of protests over the death of George Floyd.

A damaged cash machine is seen in Washington on I Street NW, Monday, June 1, 2020, after a night protests over the death of George Floyd. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington, during a news conference to announce a new 7 p.m. curfew for the city for the next two nights. Across the U.S., people gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

An ATF officer walks out of Lafayette Park on H Street NW, on Monday, June 1, 2020, after weekend protests sparked by the death of George Floyd occurred near the White House.

afl-cio building
A worker cleans graffiti off the AFL-CIO building on 16th Street NW in D.C., on Monday, June 1, 2020, after weekend protests.

(1/41)
Donald Trump
President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
afl-cio building

“I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail,” Trump added.

Afterward, he walked over to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had suffered fire damage in a protest Sunday. Law enforcement used smoke canisters and deployed flash bangs to clear the protesters who had been peacefully gathered from the area.

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington Mariann Budde said she does not support Trump’s “incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation.”

“We stand with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd through the sacred act of peaceful protest,” Budde said in a statement Monday night.

She said the president used a bible and a church in the diocese as back drop for a message that was “antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for.”

What does the curfew mean?

Despite the curfew, voters will be able to go to the polls between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Election workers will be able to go home after the polls close. Polls close Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Bowser, in offering guidance about the curfew, said Monday afternoon that more federal assets could be deployed around the city to focus on federal properties and monuments.

She expressed concerns about the presence of these assets but said, “We recognize they are helpful for monuments and memorials.”

A number of national monuments around the city were vandalized during the Saturday night protests, the National Parks Service confirmed.

After outbreaks of destruction and violence during the protests, Bowser said Monday that while “we applaud the American spirit of protest,” the city will not “allow the continued destruction of our hometown by people who are coming here to protest or by D.C. residents.”

Among the stores damaged during Sunday’s protests were a looted liquor store in Foggy Bottom, a Giant Food store in Shaw and a Sephora in Gallery Place. In Friendship Heights and Tenleytown, many stores were boarded up Monday, including a Target — which was hit — and a Rodman’s specialty store on Wisconsin Avenue.

Earlier on Monday, Newsham warned those in the District that, except for journalists and those serving essential functions, people violating the curfew will be arrested.

“If you are not a member of the media or you do not have an essential function, you can anticipate that local police and federal police will take you into custody,” Newsham said. “That is a warning. And I am hopeful that that warning will be shared with everybody who is listening.”

D.C. police said they made 88 arrests Sunday night and into the early hours of Monday.

Bowser urged residents to stay home and only go out for essential work. “Keep you and family safe by doing so,” she said.

Asked if it would be OK to walk their dogs after the curfew, Bowser said, “I want everybody to use common sense and good judgment.”

Bowser said that police are interested in people who are “destroying our city,” and they will be where there are necessary. “So, if you show up at the Target, and you mean to loot and create mayhem, you’re going to get arrested,” she said.

Bowser also fielded questions on the start of Sunday’s curfew at 11 p.m., and she said that they knew there were people who were “hellbent on destruction” no matter what time the curfew started.

Restaurant owner sends staff home early

As D.C. entered its first week of its phase one reopening during the pandemic, the protests and curfews posed problems for restaurant owners: Should they remain open?

Chef Geoff Tracy owns restaurants Chef Geoff’s, a popup Chef Geoff and Tortilla Coast in D.C. and Lia’s in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

He said on Friday and Saturday night his restaurants saw some forward momentum when they reopened their outdoor seating areas.

“Now unfortunately, for the really bad apples, they’re trying to use that seating and stuff to break windows,” Tracy said.

While his restaurants were not damaged during the unrest, Tracy said his popup location at 22nd and M streets had people knocking on the windows, while his manager was inside closing up.

“She basically shouted them off. She’s OK. She’s pretty angry at them,” he said.

With the nightly curfew, Tracy sent his staff home early Monday night, and he was still deciding whether and when any of the restaurants will reopen on Tuesday.

“’It is a big step back, and I feel really sad for the business owners. I feel really sad for the legitimate protesters. I feel sad for the entire Washington, D.C. community,” Tracy said.

National protests

Protests erupted across the country in response to Floyd’s death.

City and state officials deployed thousands of National Guard soldiers, enacted strict curfews and shut down mass transit systems to slow protesters’ movements, but that did little to stop parts of many cities from again erupting into mayhem.

Protesters in Philadelphia hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, officials said. People in more than 20 California cities smashed their way into businesses and ran off with as much as they could carry: boxes of sneakers, armloads of clothes, and cellphones, TVs and other electronics.

In Minneapolis, a tanker truck driver drove into a massive crowd of demonstrators. No protesters appeared to be injured, and the driver was arrested.

As the protests grew, Trump retweeted conservative commentator Buck Sexton, who called for “overwhelming force” against violent demonstrators.

Trump also slammed governors across the nation Monday. He derided the nation’s governors as “weak” and demanded tougher crackdowns on protesters.

Trump spoke to governors on a teleconference with law enforcement and national security officials, telling the local leaders they “have to get much tougher” amid nationwide protests, and criticizing their responses.

“Most of you are weak,” Trump said. “You have to arrest people.”

This came after Secret Service agents had rushed Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

The president spent nearly an hour in the bunker designed for use in emergencies such as terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House, who was not authorized to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

WTOP’s Ken Duffy and Alejandro Alvarez reported from the protests. WTOP’s Colleen Kelleher and The Associated Press also contributed to this story.

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