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Whistleblower: DC Protesters Faced 'Unprovoked Escalation'

National Guard major says protesters were peaceful, did not receive ample warnings
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2020 6:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – The senior-most DC National Guard officer at Lafayette Square on June 1, the day protesters were forcibly removed before President Trump did a photo-op at a nearby church, has claimed federal officials sought crowd control devices too unpredictable to be used in war zones and moved in without clear, repeated warnings, which are required by law. Maj. Adam DeMarco, who served as a liaison between the National Guard and US Park Police, testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources as part of an ongoing investigation into the use of force against protesters in Washington, DC, per the Washington Post, which received his account. He said federal officials had transferred assault rifles and ammunition to the DC Armory and sought a heat ray, or Active Denial System, which sends out invisible rays that make a person feel as if their skin is on fire.

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DeMarco said officials never obtained the heat ray, considered too controversial to be used in Iraq in the 2000s, or a Long Range Acoustic Device. US Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan has testified that a LRAD was used to tell protesters to disperse. But DeMarco said only a megaphone was used and he could barely hear the warnings from 30 yards away. He said protesters gave no sign that they had heard. Protesters and journalists have said they weren't warned before police moved in with tear gas, stun grenades, smoke bombs, and rubber bullets. The Trump administration painted protesters as violent, per the AP. But DeMarco said they were peaceful when faced with "unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force." Republicans have sought to discredit DeMarco, noting he ran as a Democratic House candidate in 2018, per the New York Times. (Read more excessive force stories.)

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