Report: D.C. Mayor Defends Use of Tear Gas Against Black Lives Matter — After Denouncing Trump

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a press conference on May 11
SAUL LOEB/AFP

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser is defending the city’s use of tear gas last year against Black Lives Matter protesters — after she denounced President Donald Trump for the same (though federal authorities did not, in fact, use tear gas).

Last year, Democrats — including Bowser, and President Joe Biden — falsely accused the Trump administration of using “tear gas” to clear “peaceful protesters” from Lafayette Square in front of the White House for a presidential “photo-op.” As Breitbart News repeatedly noted, the protesters were not “peaceful”; they had been cleared by the U.S. Park Police according to a decision that had nothing to do with the photo-op; and federal officers used pepper balls, not “tear gas.”

Mayor Bowser denounced the clearing of the protesters at the time. However, she is now in court defending the D.C. Metro Police for using tear gas to disperse the crowds — and the Department of Justice is also fighting the lawsuit.

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley noted Tuesday that the lawsuit revealed that Bowser’s own administration had used tear gas — unlike federal authorities — to disperse demonstrators merely one block away from Lafayette Square:

What [is] so striking is that the lawyer, Richard Sobiecki, represents the D.C. government of Mayor Muriel Bowser, who condemned the federal government for its clearing of the area and alleged use of tear gas. Much of the media lionized Bowser for her stance at the time. She received national acclaim for painting “Black Lives Matter” on the street next to the park and renaming it “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”

Now, one year later, Bowser is keeping the BLM plaza but opposing the BLM protesters. Her administration insisted in court that the protesters were legitimately teargassed by the metropolitan police to enforce her curfew that night.

Now, with Trump out of the White House, Bowser’s administration insists there was nothing unreasonable in the use of tear gas to enforce a curfew and is asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit by protesters, including Black Lives Matter DC. The media that spent the past year denouncing the Trump administration over its alleged use of tear gas seems largely silent as Bowser’s administration claims its own use of force was reasonable.

After the Lafayette Park operation, Bowser declared that “if you are like me, you saw something that you hoped you would never see in the United States of America.” Now, her government is arguing not only that the protesters’ claims should be dismissed but that the district did and can continue to use tear gas in such situations, even to enforce a curfew.

Turley notes that the media have been almost completely silent about Bowser’s evident reversal on the use of tear gas, after she and Democrats falsely accused Trump of the same.

Read Turley’s full report and commentary at The Hill.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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