Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department refused to comment on why the department failed to prevent protesters from harassing Republican National Convention attendees outside of the White House Thursday night.
Protesters harassed Florida Rep. Brian Mast, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and his wife, RNC guests and police officers, multiple videos from the night show. Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said in a press conference Monday that the department had to plan for the convention on “short notice.”
“When you throw bricks, and rocks and bottles and urine and you set fires, there is going to be a police reaction,” Newsham said at the press conference.
“So folks who want to suggest or paint the picture that this was somehow peaceful, and the police indiscriminately used munitions against them, they’re not being honest,” Newsham added.
One agitator threatened to beat up the DC police officers near the White House. pic.twitter.com/ksh7mSsppq
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 28, 2020
MPD declined to comment on the orders given to officers Thursday night, or why officers seemed to be largely outnumbered by demonstrators. (RELATED: Protesters Harass Politicians, RNC Guests Leaving White House After Trump’s Speech)
“The Metropolitan Police Department’s primary responsibility is to safeguard and protect the residents and visitors to the District of Columbia,” MPD told the DCNF. “Additionally, MPD does not discuss operational tactics.”
Newsham said the activity began around 6 p.m. on Thursday, and that a group of 200 to 300 protesters outside the White House started to throw projectiles at officers around 8:30 p.m.
The protesters started launching fireworks at officers around 10 p.m., according to Newsham. Property was reportedly destroyed and small fires were set in trash cans and on the roads.
MPD arrested eight adults, with charges including assault on a police officer, simple assault, and destruction of property, Newsham said. Four officers were injured, he noted.
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