D.C. Mayor Bowser asks Trump to withdraw "extraordinary" military and unidentified law enforcement
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has sent a letter to President Trump requesting that he withdraw "all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence" from the city. Protesters have held largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality and racial violence in the wake of George Floyd's death every day for the past week in the district.
Over last weekend, however, there were some clashes late in the evening, with scattered fires and looting in the capital, as well as vandalism of buildings and historic places, including the Lincoln and World War II memorials and St. John's Episcopal Church, near the White House.
In response, the mayor announced curfews that extended through Thursday morning, and requested national guard troops assist D.C. law enforcement.
Bowser said in her letter to Mr. Trump, which she also posted on Twitter, that she has ended the state of emergency in the city related to the demonstrations, noting that the Metropolitan Police Department did not make a single arrest on Wednesday evening. Bowser said that the city government was "well equipped" to handle peaceful protests without federal assistance.
Bowser also said that she continues to be concerned about the large number of unidentified federal personnel in the city, arguing that it could pose safety risks.
"The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans," Bowser said. She added that the "multiplicity of forces can breed dangerous confusion."
Bowser also questioned why so many officers "lack identifying insignia," saying this was dangerous for personnel and protesters, and violated D.C. law.
"The safety and freedom of the residents and visitors to the District of Columbia is paramount," Bowser said. "My view is that law enforcement should be in place to protect the rights of American citizens, not restrict them."
Bowser also tweeted overhead video of the words "black lives matter" painted on the street on the way to the White House.
Bowser also announced Friday that the section of 16th Street in front of the White House would now be called "Black Lives Matter Plaza."
Following the protests that grew heated at night over the weekend, on Monday, law enforcement officers forcefully cleared protesters from an area outside the White House shortly before Mr. Trump took a walk to survey a damaged historic church. The D.C. National Guard has also opened an investigation into a low-flying maneuver by one of its helicopters over protesters on Monday.
Mr. Trump has praised the response by law enforcement officers and particularly the U.S. Secret Service to protesters in the nation's capital. He has also called for local governments to "dominate the streets" in response to protesters.
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