ACLU Demands Barr Appoint a Special Counsel to Look Into the Removal of Protesters From Lafayette Square


Attorney General William Barr is facing calls for an independent investigation into the decision to clear protesters who had gathered outside the White House in early June.

On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to Barr to demand that he appoint a special counsel to look into the decision to disperse the protesters.

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) strongly urges the appointment of a special counsel to investigate, and if warranted, prosecute any federal criminal violations of protesters’ constitutional rights in Lafayette Square Park,” the letter read. 

It continued, “On that day, at approximately 6:25 pm, federal and other government forces attacked peaceful protesters and journalists covering the event without warning and unprovoked, used tear gas, flash bang grenades, and rubber bullets to drive the crowd out of the public park they lawfully occupied.”

Additionally, the ACLU argued the decision to disperse the protesters was a violation of their First and Fourth Amendment rights.

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“Given the seriousness of these events, a special counsel is necessary to meet the need for the American people to trust that their civil liberties will continue to be protected by the rule of law, through a full, complete, and impartial investigation of these events and, if warranted, prosecution of any criminal acts committed by Executive Branch officials,” the letter added.

Additionally, the ACLU argued that since Barr ordered the protesters’ dispersal, he must recuse himself from the selection process of a special counsel.

Finally, the letter read:

“The faith of the people in their government and their trust in the protections afforded to them by law and by the Constitution are in peril. A full investigation by an independent special counsel is necessary to restore confidence in federal law enforcement and to ensure our most-cherished rights and liberties are protected, especially as future civil rights protests unfold across the states and in the nation’s capital.”

The letter references the controversial moment when protesters against racism and police violence were dispersed by federal officers.

After the protesters were removed, President Donald Trump walked over to a nearby church and posed for a photo with a Bible. Critics claim that the protesters were pushed back for a photo-op.

However, Barr denied that claim, “There was no correlation between our tactical plan of moving the perimeter out by one block and the president’s going over to the church.”

Instead, Barr said he ordered the perimeter to be expanded to “carry out the law enforcement functions of the federal government and to protect federal facilities and federal personnel. And also to address the rioting that was interfering with the government’s function.”

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