Washington D.C.’s Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department Peter Newsham stated during a press conference Sunday that he would not tolerate behavior that “would destroy property or hurt people.” Newsham further added that D.C. police would do everything necessary to “ensure that the city is safe.”
— WUSA9 (@wusa9) May 31, 2020
During the press conference, Newsham and Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser responded to questions about the city’s preparedness to handle the demonstrations breaking out in the nation’s capital. “We do not and we will not allow the continued destruction of our hometown by people who are coming here to protest or by D.C. residents,” Bowser said, echoing the statements made by Newsham.
Following the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, who died after being pinned to the ground by police during an arrest for alleged forgery, a combination of protests and violent riots have occurred simultaneously across the United States.
— Lorenzo Hall (@LorenzoHall) May 30, 2020
Despite Newsham’s statement that the D.C. police will not tolerate destructive and violent activity, the city continues to experience mayhem as widespread rioting and looting destroys communities and neighborhoods in Washington D.C.
Protests over Floyd’s death turned violent Friday as major American cities like Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Washington D.C. descended into chaos. Rioters took to the streets in violent demonstrations that involved the burning down of businesses, destruction of government buildings, and attacks against police officers and members of the media.
I St. has been thoroughly tear gassed from near the White House all the way into Farragut Square.
Those aren’t a lot of people left but the hundred or so now at Conn. Ave. and 17th have been setting off fireworks and lobbing gas canisters back at police. pic.twitter.com/343lS4f4LT
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) June 1, 2020
In Washington D.C. the rioters set cars on fire and looted businesses as tensions increased in the city over the weekend. Lafayette Square Park was especially vandalized by rioters breaking into private property and leaving behind a trail of fire and broken glass.
Historical monuments and important sites in the city, such as the National Mall, World War II memorial, and Lincoln Memorial were defaced and vandalized. The historic St. John’s Episcopal Church was also set on fire Sunday night although it did not experience major damage.
Protesters and rioters demonstrated outside the White House over the weekend, leading to a confrontation with Secret Service agents. Barricades were pushed down and objects were hurled at the agents, who responded with pepper spray after previous attempts to disperse the crowd failed. The White House even went into lockdown Friday night as President Donald Trump was briefly escorted to a bunker underneath the building.
It looks like a war zone outside the White House pic.twitter.com/FRn1tC3KCP
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) June 1, 2020
As Bowser implements a new curfew for Monday and Tuesday, it is clear that D.C. police have failed to live up to the statements made by Newsham. Despite efforts made by local law enforcement to disperse rioters and control the criminal activity occurring across the city, it is evident that the police were unable to prevent the violence and destruction of property. (RELATED: ‘Domestic Terrorism’: Bill Barr Condemns Riots In Statement)
Despite the assistance of the D.C. National Guard and Maryland’s Montgomery County police, the past several days are a clear indication that greater action must be taken by local law enforcement in order to address the looting and vandalism taking place in the city.