U.S. Park Police (USPP) officers faced "a state of siege" just before they cleared protesters near the White House on Monday, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt wrote in a letter to lawmakers, The Hill reported.
The letter comes at a time when Democrats in Congress look for answers as to why park police used chemical agents to clear demonstrators near Lafayette Square protesting the death of George Floyd.
"Beginning on Saturday May 30, 2020, the USPP were under a state of siege and routinely subject to attack by violent crowds," Bernhardt wrote to the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Interior Department.
Bernhardt said one officer needed emergency surgery after sustaining an injury from the crowd.
"The incidents are numerous and include USPP officers having their police cars vandalized; being subject to bombardment by lighted flares; Molotov cocktails, rocks, bricks, bottles, and other projectiles; and physical assault so violent that to date over 50 area law enforcement officers have been injured to some degree," Bernhardt wrote.
Democrats in the committee were left unsatisfied with the letter who asked for park police tactics used to clear the protesters.
"That you attempted to 'respond' to our letter without actually responding to our request for a briefing is irresponsible; that you sought to explain the police violence on June 1 without mentioning that the goal was to allow a frightened president to pose for a photo-op with a borrowed Bible is pathetic," Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., said in a reply letter to Bernhardt late Friday. "Efforts to spin a narrative plainly contradicted by video evidence is folly."
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