Just before 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, the D.C. National Guard made its first original tweet since early March, asserting that its Commanding General, Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, will investigate why its helicopters were used to suppress protests in the District on June 1.
DCNG Commanding General has directed an investigation into the actions of our rotary aviation assets June 1. Our priority is the safety of our Guardsmen who support civil authorities. We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of citizens and their right to protest.
— District of Columbia National Guard (@DCGuard1802) June 3, 2020
The sounds of helicopters have been present in D.C. since protests prompted by the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd started Friday, May 29. However, Monday night was different, as National Guard helicopters made numerous passes through the District, hovering close to the ground in areas where protesters had gathered.
Multiple reporters and residents posted videos on social media late on June 1 showing the blustery conditions created by the hovering helicopters.
Jackie Bensen, a reporter for WTOP news partner NBC 4, posted a video of a low-flying helicopter late Monday night.
— Jackie Bensen (@jackiebensen) June 2, 2020
Other news reports from June 1 said the helicopter Bensen saw was not the only one using this crowd-dispersal tactic in D.C.
The message from the National Guard closed with this point: “We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of citizens and their right to protest.”