Park Police Say No Tear Gas Used

AP News
June 02, 2020 - 8:32 pm
Demonstrators pause to kneel as they march to protest the death of George Floyd, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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By The Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Park Police is denying it used tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters outside the White House on Monday night, saying officers instead used smoke canisters and pepper balls to aggressively push back the demonstrators.

Protesters scrambled as smoke filled the streets and AP journalists witnessed people reacting to their eyes and throats becoming irritated. Journalists covering the protest reported the crowd was largely peaceful at the time; the Park Police said they were responding to protesters throwing items, including bricks and frozen water bottles at law enforcement.

Justice Department officials offered a different explanation, saying officers were carrying out Attorney General William Barr’s order to expand the security perimeter outside the White House.

Officers repelled the crowd nearly 30 minutes ahead of a 7 p.m. curfew in Washington. Shortly after the crowd was pushed back, President Donald Trump walked through the park where they had gathered for a photo opportunity at a nearby church.