When federal police officers cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in June 2020 they did it so a contractor could install fencing, not to let President Donald Trump take a photo at a church according to an investigation by the Interior Department’s Inspector General.
The independent Inspector General of the Interior Department, Mark Lee Greenblatt, worked in the Obama administration and investigated “the actions of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) to disperse protesters in and around Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2020.”
He released a letter announcing his findings that said: “Over the course of this review, our career investigative staff conducted extensive witness interviews, reviewed video footage from numerous vantage points, listened to radio transmissions from multiple law enforcement entities, and examined evidence including emails, text messages, telephone records, procurement documents, and other related materials. This report presents a thorough, independent examination of that evidence to assess the USPP’s decision making and operations, including a detailed timeline of relevant actions and an analysis of whether the USPP’s actions complied with governing policies.
“The evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti-scale fencing in response to the destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31. Moreover, the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day. As such, we determined that the evidence did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park.
“We also found weaknesses with the operation to clear the park, including the U.S. Secret Service’s deployment before the USPP had begun its dispersal warnings and the USPP’s failure to provide dispersal warnings that were loud enough for everyone to hear and that told protesters where to exit before the clearing operation began,” he wrote.
Glenn Greenwald, a noted independent reporter shamed the media writing:
For more than a year, it has been consecrated media fact that former President Donald Trump and his White House, on June 1 of last year, directed the U.S. Park Police to use tear gas against peaceful Lafayette Park protesters, all to enable a Trump photo-op in front of St. John’s Church.
That this happened was never presented as a possibility or likelihood but as indisputable truth. And it provoked weeks of unmitigated media outrage, presented as one of the most egregious assaults on the democratic order in decades.
This tale was so pervasive in the media landscape that it would be impossible for any one article to compile all the examples. “Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op,” read the NPR headline on June 1. The New York Times ran with: “Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church.”
CNN devoted multiple segments to venting indignation while the on-screen graphic declared: “Peaceful Protesters Near White House Tear-Gassed, Shot With Rubber Bullets So Trump Can Have Church Photo Op.”
ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos “reported” that “the administration asked police to clear peaceful protesters from the park across the White House so that the President could stage a photo op.”
The Intercept published an article stating that “federal police used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear protesters from Lafayette Square in front of the White House,” all to feature a video where the first interviewee said: “to me, the way our military and police have behaved toward the protesters at the instruction of President Trump has almost been Nazi-like.”Nazi-like. This was repeated by virtually every major corporate outlet.
At a June 2 Press Conference, then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) proclaimed with anger: “last night I watched as President Trump, having gassed peaceful protesters just so he could do this photo op, then he went on to teargas priests who were helping protesters in Lafayette Park.”
Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi exclaimed: “What is this, a banana republic?,” when asked about NBC News’ report that “security forces used tear gas and flash-bangs against a crowd of peaceful demonstrators to clear the area for the president.”
You read the full IG report here.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) June 9, 2021
The IG who issued this report is a DC official from the *Obama years.* He obtained proof showing the decision to clear the Park was made well before Trump decided to go to the Church.
Liberals still refuse to believe it because they adore corporate media & want to be lied to. pic.twitter.com/b7rbUtTZVh
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 9, 2021
So in other words a falsehood was repeated unquestioningly about 10 billion times by journalists and elected officials but that’s OK because it served a convenient short-term political purpose. What else is new https://t.co/Cat5Fclc6z
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 9, 2021