7.04.2020

Troops sent to DC during George Floyd protests had bayonets, top general says


The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Army Gen Mark Milley, confirmed that a few US troops sent to Washington throughout protests over George Floyd’s police killing were issued with bayonets.


The Associated Press, which reported at the bayonets in June, also obtained some documents revealing that some service members despatched to the capital area in case they had been ordered in to support law enforcement and National Guard in crowd control,did not have training in riot response.

In June, soldiers of the military’s 82nd airborne department from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as well as the third US infantry regiment, from Washington DC, had been mobilized as demonstrators protested in opposition to police brutality and systemic racism, mainly affecting Black Americans.


After the troops arrived in outskirts of the nation’s capital, however, they were not despatched to the demonstrations. While the soldiers had been given bayonets, they were informed that these implements were to stay in their sheaths, not affixed to their service rifles, Milley disclosed to two US congress members in a letter obtained by the AP.


These soldiers were also informed that no weapons were to enter Washington “without clear orders and only after non-lethal options were first reviewed”, Milley said.

In Milley’s 26 June letter, he claimed the order to mobilize these troops was from Army Maj Gen Omar Jones, who works as commander of the Washington DC military district.


Milley’s letter was despatched to the congressmen Ted Lieu of California and Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois after both Democrats demanded an explanation following the AP’s record on bayonets.




Neither members of the 82nd airborne nor 3rd infantry regiment were called off-base into Washington DC, and paratroopers from the 82nd airborne were despatched back to North Carolina on 4 June.


A document acquired by the news organisation also found out that some military members “were no prepared” particularly for dealing with demonstrators, and that commanders planned on giving them training within four days of their arrival.


While service members with bayonets had been not called off-base, the military’s presence during unrest spurred enormous outrage.





Law enforcement agents violently ousted peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square subsequent to the White House so that Donald Trump and an entourage that included Milley and the defence secretary, Mark Esper, ought to have a photograph op in the front of St John’s church, called the Church of the Presidents.





In a highly contentious escalation of tension and audacious stretch of presidential authority and use of the US military, Trump had threatened to deploy federal forces across the US and in defiance of any dissenting governors or mayor in order to quell civil unrest. He appeared to begin by demonstrating a swift scrambling of US soldiers to be poised outside the capital.



Milley publicly apologized for participating within the photo op approximately one week later.

“I should not were there,” Milley stated in a pre-recorded video commencement address for National Defense University.


“My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military concerned in domestic politics.”



On 29 June, a congressional committee heard testimony from witnesses of the Lafayette Square incident, including some who suffered injuries, USA Today reported.


Meanwhile, on 9 July, Esper and Milley are due to testify at a House armed services committee hearing on Department of Defense authorities and roles associated with civilian law enforcement.


Esper has stated he didnt know if Trump was intending to hold a photograph op.


It was another sign of pressure between Trump and the military, a relationship he has championed, soon followed by means of the reports that Russia had placed a bounty on US military heads in Afghanistan.



Troops sent to DC during George Floyd protests had bayonets, pinnacle general says

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