The watchdog, which studied the incident that took place on June 1, 2020, through demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality in Washington, D.C., rather discovered the U.S. Park Police had the authority to clear the park and surrounding areas, and did so to allow a contractor to install anti-scale fencing after many nights of violent disputes. U.S. Park Police likewise did not know that Mr. Trump would possibly be leaving the White House and crossing Lafayette Park until "mid-to late afternoon" on June 1, hours after the contractor had arrived to begin installation, according to the report.
"The evidence we obtained did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park to allow the president to survey the damage and walk to St. John's Church," the report from the Interior Department's inspector general announces.
The watchdog further discovered that the U.S. Park Police used a "sound amplifying long-range acoustic device" to issue three warnings telling the crowd to disperse, though acknowledged not all could hear the warning, and some police units started moving to clear demonstrators before the third and last warning was given. Furthermore, the report states there were communication issues between U.S. Park Police and law enforcement agencies brought in to help through the protests, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"We found that the USPP and the Secret Service did not use a shared radio channel to communicate, that the USPP primarily conveyed information orally to assisting law enforcement entities, that an assisting law enforcement entity arrived late and may not have received a full briefing on the rules of engagement, and that several law enforcement officers could not clearly hear the incident commander's dispersal warnings," the report says. "These weaknesses in communication and coordination may have contributed to confusion during the operation and the use of tactics that appeared inconsistent with the incident commander's operational plan."
In a statement, Mr. Trump insisted that the inspector general "totally exonerat[ed] me."
"As we have said all along, and it was backed up in today's highly detailed and professionally written report, our fine Park Police made the decision to clear the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti scale fencing to protect from Antifa rioters, radical BLM protestors, and other violent demonstrators who are causing chaos and death to our cities," he said.