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In a press conference today, MPD Police Chief Peter Newsham said his department made over 300 arrests last night. The majority of those arrests were for curfew violation, some were for burglary and rioting.
54 arrests were made around 17 and I at 7:20 p.m., primarily for curfew violation. 194 arrests were made around the 1400 block of Swann Street. There were also some arrests made among a group of roughly 300 protestors near Judiciary Square. Newsham says they were becoming aggressive, so DC Police used sting balls, CS spray, and OC spray to disperse that group.
Newsham said there was an indication of potential violence among the Swann Street group, and that a Metropolitan Police Department was set on fire. A DC resident took hundreds of those protestors into his home where they remained until the morning. Those people ultimately were not arrested, and Newsham says MPD was in communication with the homeowner throughout the evening. Newsham says his department will be conducting reviews to ensure all of the arrests around Swann Street and elsewhere were respectful and appropriate.
Newsham confirmed that protestors were dispersed yesterday in Lafayette Square so the President could move safely to St. John’s Church. He says federal officers gave warnings around 6:30 p.m. for protestors to disperse, and that DC Metropolitan Police were not involved in that dispersal. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said she saw no reason why munitions should have been deployed, “especially for the purpose of moving the President across the street.”
Currently, the Secret Service has closed off a number of DC streets around the White House. Newsham says they have the authority to do so to facilitate movement of the President. Trump left the White House around 11 a.m. to visit the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.
A low-flying helicopter could be seen in Chinatown last night. Newsham said the helicopter was a federal asset, and that the decision to fly it low was made by a federal agency. He doesn’t feel the tactic was helpful. He also said the District made it very clear they did not want the National Guard to be armed, and Bowser added the District also did not support deploying armed military.
“I don’t think the military should be used on American streets against Americans, and I definitely don’t think it should be done for a show,” Bowser said.
Bowser added the District had not made any request for mutual assistance, and didn’t know why the Arlington Police had been sent into the city.
The District will have another 7 p.m. citywide curfew this evening that will lift at 6 a.m. tomorrow. Essential workers, media, and people voting in DC’s primary are exempt. Bowser said most of yesterday’s protestors complied with yesterday’s curfew, and implores residents to continue to comply this evening.
“That doesn’t mean you’re leaving at 7 p.m., it means you’re off the streets at 7 p.m.,” she said.