For the media, however, these actions were further proof that Orange Man Bad is literally the worst, restoring rule of law is criminal, and standing in front of a church holding a Bible is an assault on the American conscience. They focused on how the Park Police had cleared the area ahead of the city-wide curfew declared by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Facts were no barrier to their narrative. They spun a tale of violent, jack-booted cops running rampant through the streets over innocent docile protesters, using tear gas to clear the area. It turns out none of that was true.
Every single major media outlet falsely reported that Park Police were unprovoked when they used “tear gas” to clear the area. If any of that were true, it might mark the first time in history that cops without gas masks launched tear gas in an area that the president of the United States easily walked through minutes later.
After thousands of false tweets, print stories, and broadcast stories to the contrary, local journalist Neal Augenstein of WTOP reported that a Park Police source said “tear gas was never used — instead smoke canisters were deployed, which don’t have an uncomfortable irritant in them.” Further, the source said the crowd was dispersed because of projectiles being thrown by the “peaceful protesters” at the Park Police and because “peaceful protesters” had climbed on top of a structure in Lafayette Park that had been burned the prior night.
Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, the public information officer for the Park Police, confirmed the agency did not use tear gas. And later this afternoon, United States Park Police acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan exploded the entire false narrative:
On Monday, June 1, the USPP worked with the United States Secret Service to have temporary fencing installed inside Lafayette Park. At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.
To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following established policy, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area. As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park. Subsequently, the fence was installed.
Prior to getting the actual facts, nearly every major media outlet falsely reported that canisters of tear gas, not smoke canisters, were used against peaceful protesters. ….