Home / US / Army National Guard Major said congressional feds requested heat beams and ammo before canceling DC protest.

Army National Guard Major said congressional feds requested heat beams and ammo before canceling DC protest.

Major Adam DeMarco described such preparations – including the inability of officials to acquire a high-volume announcement device to warn protesters to disperse – in an August letter in response to follow-up questions after testifying before the Commission. of the House for Natural Resources in June on federation officers’ efforts earlier that month. DeMarco, who described himself as one of the top National Guard officials on the scene, ran as a Democrat for Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District in 2018.

News of the contents of DeMarco’s letter was first reported by NPR.
In the letter, DeMarco wrote that the Defense Department chief military police officer for the National Capitol region sent an email to him and others on the day of the protests asking if the DC National Guard had “a device. long-range acoustic “, which can blast walls of sound at protesters, or”
; active denial systems “, which feature” a direct energy beam that provides the sensation of intense heat on the skin surface “.

DeMarco wrote that he responded by saying that the DC National Guard did not have either device and that, to his knowledge, no such hearing devices were used in Lafayette Square. When he tried to get the hearing aid the next day, the DC National Guard told him “they were no longer looking for it.”

Therefore, the US Park Service’s “scatter warnings” did not come from that system but from “a red and white megaphone” that DeMarco saw use, he wrote. In his in-person testimony he referred to the fact that even within 30 feet of the megaphone, “the dispersal warnings were barely audible and I was only able to discern several words” – while the first line of protesters was even further away from the warning .

He also referred to a weapons transfer to the DC National Guard on the afternoon of the protest which he later learned contained “approximately 7,000 rounds of ammunition”.

Federal agents were criticized for using smoke cans and rubber bullets to clear out peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square to protest institutionalized racism and police brutality after George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police. The move sparked protests from lawmakers and public figures, including former Defense Secretary James Mattis, with Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser denouncing the incident as an attack on protesters.
Law enforcement officers dispersed the crowd just before President Donald Trump’s controversial photo shoot at a nearby church, where he displayed a Bible after declaring himself president of “law and order.” The incident has come to embody Trump’s stance against widespread national unrest, which he vowed to crack down on a key tenet of his re-election campaign.

A Defense Department official briefed on the matter downplayed DeMarco’s account, the Post reported, and said emails asking for information on particular weapons were routine in evaluating available inventory. The official also told the newspaper that federal police failed to acquire a heat-ray device during the first days of demonstrations in the city.

DeMarco’s attorney, David Laufman, challenged this characterization Wednesday, saying “there is nothing ‘routine’ in investigating the availability of a heat beam to be used against American citizens exercising their prime rights. Amendment”.

In his appearance before the committee in June, DeMarco testified that tear gas had actually been used, contrary to the official account of federal officials.

“I could feel irritation in my eyes and nose, and based on my previous exposure to tear gas during my training at West Point and later in my military training, I recognized that irritation as effects consistent with CS or ‘tear gas’.” , DeMarco told the panel. “And later that night, I found tear gas on the street nearby.”

In contrast, United States Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan at the time testified that tear gas had not been used, but his testimony suggested that he defined tear gas as a particular type of gas called CS gas.

This story has been updated with more details.

Manu Raju, Gregory Wallace, and Jamie Crawford of CNN contributed to this report.

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