Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday that she’s ending a curfew for residents protesting police brutality and that she wants National Guard troops from other states to leave.
Bowser announced the end of four nights of curfew at a press conference following two nights of relative peace despite thousands defying her earlier curfews to protest the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police.
The mayor said that she wants thousands of National Guard members from other states to return home as order is restored. Bowser said local authorities never requested guardsmen from elsewhere and are studying the legality of their deployment.
“We want troops from out of state out of Washington, DC,” Bowser said.
The local DC National Guard was deployed on Saturday to help protect the White House after initial skirmishes on Friday between Secret Service and protesters.
After street battles between protesters and police, along with arson and looting, federal officials accepted contributions of guardsmen from many states.
Tennessee sent to DC 1,000 guardsmen, Florida sent 500, Mississippi sent 400, South Carolina sent 445, Indiana sent 300, Utah sent 200 and Ohio contributed 100.
New Jersey and Missouri reportedly sent guardsmen, too, and neighboring Maryland sent 120. On Wednesday a large contingent of troops unloaded from a West Virginia National Guard plane at Joint Base Andrews outside DC.
Hundreds of officers from federal agencies are also on the streets, including from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosive, the FBI and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
DC Police Chief Peter Newsham said Thursday that a day earlier, officers made zero protest-related arrests, no police department equipment was destroyed and no police officers were injured — a sharp break from prior nights of torched cop cars.
The restoration of order has been dramatic in the nation’s capital, where violent clashes broke out on Saturday and Sunday. Much of downtown Washington is boarded up and increasingly militarized after scenes of lawlessness where officers did little to stop property damage and theft.
Initial protests over Floyd’s death occurred Friday outside the White House, prompting President Trump to enter a secure bunker. But on Saturday, protests gave way to full-blown mayhem with fires, mass vandalism and fighting in the streets.
On Saturday, DC police made just 19 arrests, followed by 90 on Sunday, Newsham said.
The mayor set curfews of 11 p.m. for Sunday and Wednesday and 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday, DC police mass-arrested 194 people on a quiet residential street for curfew violations and chased another protest march with flash-bang grenades, pepper spray and tear gas. A low-flying DC National Guard helicopter hovered over that group.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, DC authorities made no effort to enforce the curfew and facilitated large night marches.
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