A U.S. park police official said on Friday that the agency had made a “mistake” when it refused to use tear gas to help clean up Lafayette Park for President Trump’s infamous photo op – prompting an immediate turnaround of the agency and a blow of the White House.
The dueling statements from the same agency were just the most recent mixed message regarding the photo-op – where White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in full this week that “no one was caught. Let me make that clear. ‘
Park Service information officer Sgt. Eduardo Delgado acknowledged confusion after the media reported that the Centers for Disease Control describes the powdered pepper spray as a form of tear gas, even though it is not technically a gas.
In this June 1, 2020 photo, a line of police officers serve protestors away from St. John’s Church opposite Lafayette Park from the White House, as they gather to protest the death of George Floyd in Washington. “United States Park Police officers and other assisting law enforcement partners did not use tear gas or OC Skat Shells to close the area at Lafayette Park in response to violent protesters,” Acting Chief Gregory Monahan said.
“The point is we admitted we used what we used,” Delgado said Vox in an interview. “I think the term” tear gas “doesn’t even matter anymore. It was a mistake on our part for using ‘tear gas’ because we just assumed people would think CS or CN,’ Delgado said.
CS refers to artificial tear gas. They are all used as riot control agents. CS and CN are manufactured in a laboratory. Pepper spray is derived from compounds in naturally occurring peppers, but it still causes eye irrigation.
“I’m not going to say that pepperballs don’t bother you,” Delgado said. “I’m not saying it’s not tear gas, but I’m just saying we’re using a peppercorn that shoots powder.”
Acting Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan – whose name was on the service’s original Tuesday statement – subsequently released a statement that sought to elude that clarification.
“Repeatedly his previous statement regarding the actions taken over the weekend to protect life and property in Lafayette Park, Deputy Chief of Police, Gregory T. Monahan, released the following statement today,” the new statement.
The action to clean up Lafayette Park came minutes before a picture of Donald Trump
On June 1, 2020, police of photo files clean the area around Lafayette Park and the White House as protesters gather to protest the death of George Floyd in Washington. Floyd died after being detained by Minneapolis police officers
U.S. marshals curb a demonstrator near the White House on June 1, 2020 as demonstrations against George Floyd’s death continue
Protesters gathered to protest the death of George Floyd as police clear the street at the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being detained by Minneapolis police officers
Trump posed with a Bible for St. John’s Church on Monday
“Police officers in the United States and other assisting law enforcement partners have not used tear gas or OC Skat Shells to seal off the area near Lafayette Park in response to violent protesters,” he said.
Skat bowls are a combination bowl that contains CS, CN and smoke.
The White House immediately praised that statement, and called the Vox report ‘FALSE!’ White House spokesman Judd Deere gave it that label in a tweet on Friday.
Mankew’s first Tuesday statement came after multiple media accounts of tear gas use. WUSA, the local CBS affiliate in Washington, answered multiple shell housings on the seen. The canisters were labeled ‘SPEDE-HEAT CS’, ‘CS’ and ‘SKAT SHELL OC’. Other agencies have also refused to use tear gas.
“At about 6:33 p.m., violent protesters began throwing projectiles into H Street NW, including bricks, frozen water bottles, and caustic liquids,” Monahan said in Tuesday’s statement.
“The intelligence agency had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches with glass bottles, baseball bats, and metal poles hidden along the street,” he said.
An initial statement from the Park Police acknowledged the use of peppercorns, but said the Park Police and others “did not use tear gas or OC Skat Shells.”
The White House called a report with the initial clarification “FALSE!”
To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP issued three loudspeaker warnings, according to established policies, to warn protesters on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse patrols, civilian disruption units and additional personnel were deployed to clear the area. While many of the protesters became more combative, continued to throw projectiles and attempt to seize officers’ weapons, officers subsequently used the use of smoke cans and peppercorns, “said Tuesday.
“No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park,” he said.
Park police said officers had used “ smoke canisters and peppercorns ” – which contain a naturally occurring eye irritant.
Members of the on-site National Guard were shown wearing gas masks shortly before the action to clear the area took place – just minutes before the President began commenting on Rose Garden.