Investigate Brutal Clearing Action in Lafayette Park

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Investigate Brutal Clearing Action in Lafayette Park

This petition made change with 1,086 supporters!
Will Kennedy Smith started this petition to Mayor Bowser and

We the undersigned public officials and citizens call for the Mayor and City Council and Congress to immediately appoint an independent body to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into the aggressive and brutal clearing action perpetrated by military and law enforcement officers against a crowd of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park on the evening of June 1st 2020. The action involved an initial phalanx of officers, on foot and in full riot gear, shoving and kicking peaceful protestors. Rubber bullets and tear gas were reportedly used. The initial action was immediately followed by a second wave of officers advancing mounted on horseback. This display of force appeared to be planned and directed by President Trump and members of his administration as a live demonstration of the President’s professed credo that government agents should “totally dominate” protestors. The effect was to facilitate a photo opportunity for the President, members of his immediate family and senior administration officials, at the façade of St. Johns chapel across the street from the White House.  
 
It is particularly sad and ironic that the events of June 1st took place in a park named for the Marquis de Lafayette, who fought to establish our nation and its liberties and said: “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights.” The liberty and the rights of the peaceful protesters in Lafayette park were violated on June 1st, apparently at the urging of the President of the United States. The execution of this “police” action is outrageous, counterproductive and completely unacceptable. It violates the policing policies and norms of the District of Columbia and constitutes a dangerous precedent intended to inform the response of Federal and local government to the peaceful exercise of first amendment rights by our citizens now and in the future. Americans of every political persuasion should be alarmed and swiftly denounce this dangerous development.
 
Among the questions we hope to see addressed by an independent investigation include:
 
·      An explanation of the rationale, genesis and planning of the clearing action
·      An explanation of the selection process for the units and officers involved
·      Any legal basis for such an action including
o   Whether any laws governing the right to peaceful protest or limitations in the use of force by government agents were violated.
o   Whether military troops were involved with and appropriately authorized to conduct such action
o   Whether any agents of the District of Columbia were involved in planning or executing the action
o   Whether the action was confined to Federal land or encroached on the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia
 
It is our hope that the results of an independent investigation, led by a distinguished body of experts in policing, military, criminal and civilian law, will help the citizens of our city and our county better understand whether there was any legal basis for the actions taken on June 1st and, if so, what steps may be taken to ensure that this never happens again in the nation’s capital.

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