Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau Responds to Use of Pepper Spray at Lafayette Park
Washington, DC – Following reports of the use of force, including pepper spray, by the Metropolitan Police Department at Lafayette Park last night, Councilmember Nadeau made the following statement regarding the actions taken against District residents.
“Across the country, we are seeing statutes that idolize racist historic figures being removed by protestors. Last night, protesters were attempting to take down the statute of Andrew Jackson located in Lafayette Park in the District of Columbia. I agree that a man who owned over 100 slaves and perpetrated displacement of Native Americans does not deserve to be glorified anywhere, let alone in such a prominent place in our Nation’s Capital. In part, it is the National Park Service’s lack of action to remove racist monuments that has led to protestors organizing to take them down. While this is federal land and the statue’s presence does not fall under the authority of the District, our police department’s involvement does fall under our jurisdiction.
Our police department claims that they do not need reform and that they have sufficient de-escalation training, but the actions that continue to take place at First Amendment demonstrations say otherwise. I introduced legislation banning the use of tear gas or chemical irritants during First Amendment demonstrations to ensure that our police department does not harm our residents. The language from this legislation was advanced by Councilmember David Grosso and incorporated into the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Act that Council passed unanimously on June 9th, 2020.
I am urging Mayor Muriel Bowser to sign the emergency legislation so that the legislative steps that I and my council colleagues have taken to protect residents can go into effect immediately.”
Contact: Luz Martinez, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 262-8998