ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Arlington County, Virginia, pulled its officers out of the District of Columbia Monday night after they played a supporting role in clearing protesters from a park outside the White House so the president could walk to a church for a photo opportunity.
The County Board issued a statement Monday night saying its officers were used “for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations.”READ MORE: Three Killed, Including Safe Streets Worker, In East Baltimore Quadruple Shooting
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, for her part, said Tuesday that the District of Columbia never put out a call for mutual aid.
“I might suggest their officers shouldn’t have been there in the first place,” Bowser added.
Arlington officers joined a team of federal law enforcers using chemical agents and flash bangs to forcibly remove a large group of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park.
That cleared a path for President Donald Trump, vowing a crackdown from the Rose Garden, to walk in front of the White House over to St. John’s Church, which had been damaged in earlier protests. Trump then posed with a Bible for a few minutes.READ MORE: Closures & Delays: Maryland Schools, Government Offices & Businesses
County Board Chair Libby Garvey said on Twitter she’s “appalled” that the mutual aid agreement was abused “for a photo op.”
We ordered @ArlingtonVaPD to immediately leave DC. Appalled mutual aid agreement abused to endanger their and others safety for a photo op.
— Libby Garvey (@libbygarvey) June 2, 2020
An Arlington police spokeswoman did not immediately return an email and phone call asking how many officers were deployed and what level of force they engaged in.
With Lafayette Park under federal control, it could serve as an example of the aggressive moves Trump said should be taken to deal with demonstrations nationwide that have veered from peaceful to violent.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 2, 2020
But Bowser expressed criticism at her press conference of the use of force to clear protesters under such circumstances.
“I didn’t see any provocation … especially for the purpose of moving the president across the street,” she said.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said the city was not informed of the presidential movement until right before it happened. Newsham said his officers were not involved in moving the protesters out of Trump’s way.MORE NEWS: Nets Hold Off Wizards' Rally, Beat Washington 119-118
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