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Video Shows DC Police Tearing Down Protesters' Tents

NBC Washington D.C. logo NBC Washington D.C. 6/30/2020 Jackie Bensen
a group of people in a room: D.C. police officers take down a tent at Black Lives Matter Plaza. © Provided by NBC Washington D.C.

D.C. police officers take down a tent at Black Lives Matter Plaza.

A D.C. Council member wants answers about a video shared on social media showing police tearing down tents put up to shelter protesters at Black Lives Matter Plaza early Saturday morning.

The video posted on the Black Lives Matter DC Twitter feed shows police officers on bicycles converging on Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House in the overnight hours of June 27. The officers can be seen tearing down portable shelters that demonstrators put up over coolers of water and tables of food.

Witnesses said the police also released a chemical irritant into the tent, inadvertently spraying fellow officers.

Before leaving, one officer is seen kicking over a portable barbecue grill.

April Goggans, an original member of the Black Lives Matter DC collective, said the incident is consistent with what protesters at the plaza have been experiencing almost nightly from police.

The group considers D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who ordered the painting of the street mural, to be at odds with many of their core positions, including defunding the police department.  

D.C. Council Member Charles Allen, who heads the committee that oversees the Metropolitan Police Department, sent a letter to Police Chief Peter Newsham and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue calling for an investigation and release of the video from body cameras worn by the officers.

Allen is also calling for Newsham to disavow an incident posted and then removed from the department’s official Twitter account showing members of Breitbart News, a far-right, racist media site, taking lunch to officers at the 2nd District police station.

News4 requested comment from D.C. police Monday evening.

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