Protesters gathered Tuesday throughout D.C. for a fifth-straight day in response to the killing of George Floyd under Minneapolis police custody last week.
- Protests continued into the night in D.C. People demonstrated near the White House, where law enforcement erected a fence.
- U.S. Park Police Chief released a statement regarding the alleged use of tear gas by law enforcement to clear the area where President Donald Trump had his picture taken in front of a church.
- More than 300 were arrested Monday, most for curfew violation, according to D.C. police.
A sizable crowd of protesters returned to the area near the White House a day after law enforcement officials had dispersed demonstrators using forcible methods that are still under scrutiny by local leaders.
One protester’s perspective
“We’re all mad, we’re all frustrated,” DeAngelo said. “No matter what your skin color is, this is not white versus black. We already know the history of that story. This right here is love versus hate, right versus wrong. We cannot expect a person that hates us, with generations of teachings and learnings, to overnight, love us. So we’ve gotta protect each other from the ones that hate us.”
DeAngelo enumerated the people that might be filled with hate: police, colleagues at work, neighbors.
“You’ve gotta be able to learn to move in faith, and not in fear. I’m tired of being scared to walk out the door to go to the store to make sure my kids eat and don’t know if I’m going to make it back home just because of my skin color. We’re tired of moving with that paranoia.”
DeAngelo went on to say that everyone needs to move forward together, and his raised fist, which he asked everyone in the crowd to mimic, was not a sign of anger, but a sign of victory.
“You’ve gotta fix yourself to fix the world,” he said.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she doesn’t intend to extend the curfew that was in effect Monday and Tuesday.
Despite increased and controversial police activity, additional road closures and the continuing curfew, protesters still gathered en masse:
— Ken Duffy (@KenDuffyNews) June 2, 2020
#NOW: Hundreds are taking a knee and chanting near the White House for a fifth day of protests over George Floyd’s death, back even after two days of escalating force from police. This might be the most people I’ve seen gather this early in the evening. pic.twitter.com/NvB6gaUTL2
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) June 2, 2020
A group of protesters moved from the White House up 14th Street, turned west onto U Street, and then headed back south on 16th Street. Road closures were announced throughout the afternoon in response to protest activity:
Alert: Demonstrators Activity
Lead Northbound on 14th St NW crossing Rhode Island Ave NW
Tail Northbound on 14th St NW crossing K St NW
Rolling Road Closures
— DC Police Traffic (@DCPoliceTraffic) June 2, 2020
The Lead is Southbound on 16th St NW approaching K St NW
The Tail is Southbound on 16th St NW approaching M St NW
— DC Police Traffic (@DCPoliceTraffic) June 2, 2020
DC details Monday’s arrests
More than 300 were arrested Monday, most for curfew violation, according to D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham.
“Every indication that I had is when the arrests were being effectuated, there was no resistance by anybody that was being arrested,” Newsham said.
Bowser criticized federal officials’ handling of the protests and reignited a call for D.C. statehood Tuesday, saying federal police used munitions on peaceful protesters ahead of Monday’s curfew.
“We have an emergency response in the District and we’re going to continue to work with all of the federal agencies who are here; we’re going to continue to let the people know who are responsible for these decisions, how wrong we think it is, and how it doesn’t make us safer,” Bowser said.
Shortly after officers engaged protesters Monday evening, President Donald Trump posed for pictures in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Tuesday, the president and first lady visited the Saint John Paul II National Shrine and were met by protesters.
Black Lives Matter activists and clergy members knelt and held signs outside the shrine during the president’s visit. On Monday, the president was criticized by religious leaders after posing in front of St. John’s holding a bible but not addressing the reason for nationwide unrest.
Elsewhere in the D.C. area on Tuesday, a group of high school students organized a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Bethesda, Maryland:
This 17yo Whitman HS student put her classmates and school leaders on blast earlier, saying there is an indifference from the top about racism there. That hateful incidents by students and staff there are brushed aside. pic.twitter.com/RcnmrYoqvI
— John Domen (@JDDsays) June 2, 2020
Students talked about racism in their community and in the school system, saying hateful incidents by students and staff in schools are often brushed aside.
The group ended the rally with a peaceful march through downtown Bethesda.
In Howard County, protests at Columbia Mall shut down all buses leaving and going to the mall. Audrey Barnes with the City of Laurel said in a Tweet the Regional Transportation Agency shut down bus service early Tuesday.
Heads up RTA Riders: Due to protests and road closures, the RTA is shutting down service an hour early (within the next hour). Routes are getting blocked and will not be able to function much longer. Drivers have been instructed to get current riders to their destinations pic.twitter.com/bgkam0RJVk
— Audrey Barnes (@LaurelPIO) June 2, 2020
ALERT ALL BUSES ARE NOT RUNNING LEAVING AND GOING TO COLUMBIA MALL 6/02/2020 DUE TO PROTESTING
— RTA Service Alerts (@RTA_alert) June 2, 2020
Park Police’s statement on 4th day of protests at Lafayette Park
The acting head of the U.S. Park Police Gregory T. Monahan said that “violent” protesters on H Street NW started throwing projectiles, such as bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids at around 6:30 p.m. and around the same time that the president had a briefing at the White House Rose Garden on Monday.
Monahan said protesters climbed a “historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior.” St. John’s Episcopal Church was damaged by fire during the third night of protests on Sunday.
The church is where Trump walked after his briefing Monday and had his picture taken while holding up a Bible after the park was cleared of protesters.
Monahan said Park Police issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators to evacuate the area, and horse-mounted patrol, civil disturbance units and additional personnel were used to clear the area.
He said officers used smoke canisters and pepper balls — not tear gas — to continue to clear the area. Then a fence was installed, Monahan said.
“Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street,” Monahan said in a statement.
Several reports from the scene allege that tear gas was used to clear the area, read the answer to answers to some of the questions that arose over what happened.
WTOP’s Abigail Constantino, Dan Friedell and John Domen, reporting from Bethesda, Maryland, contributed to this report.