The officers reportedly volunteered for the assignment and received training to deescalate tensions.
Hundreds of federal law enforcement personnel remained deployed throughout the nation's capital on Tuesday after President Trump activated them to respond to protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by police in Minnesota last week.
The Justice Department on Monday deployed personnel in Washington from the FBI; Drug Enforcement Agency; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshals Service; and Bureau of Prisons. The Homeland Security Department sent officers from the Federal Protective Service and Customs and Border Protection. Military police and National Guard personnel were also stationed around the White House on Tuesday. They joined the Secret Service and the Interior Department's U.S. Park Police, who have been on the scene since the onset of the protests.
Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said all of the federal officers newly positioned in downtown Washington this week volunteered for the assignment. Cosme, until recently a Homeland Security Investigations officer, noted the officers had all received relevant mobile field force and deescalation training.
"If they charge at you, it’s a little bit of a different ballgame," he cautioned, adding, "They feel up to the task."
Here is a look at what Government Executive observed of the federal response on Tuesday afternoon:
Pictured above are DHS Federal Protective Service personnel. The officers were not engaged directly with the vast majority of the protestors. Instead, the appeared to be assisting street closures and peripheral crowd control. They were positioned between two federal buildings near the White House that had sustained some damage in earlier protests. FLEOA's Cosme said some officers were activated specifically to protected federal buildings.
While the FPS employees were largely in a support role rather than directly engaging with the protestors, they still faced sustained protest from some individuals. Demonstrators got down on their knees and shouted phrases such as, "You should be ashamed of yourselves." The officers maintained eye contact with the protestors, but did not respond. Two FPS employees were shot during protests in Oakland on Friday.
Above, Interior's Park Police push back as protestors jammed against a fence the agency and Secret Service put up overnight to prevent demonstrators from accessing Lafayette Square, the park just north of the White House. The photo was taken just moments after Park Police deployed an eye irritating agent on those against the fence. The National Park Service denied that Park Police deployed tear gas on Monday to make way for a Trump photo opportunity, but admitted to using "smoke canisters and pepper balls." Below, Park Police are seen departing the White House on motorcycle.
National Guardsmen, both Army and Air Force, and personnel wearing "military police" uniforms, were present near the White House and in helping to maintain a perimeter several blocks in all directions.
The DEA in the area, seen in two photos below, appeared to primarily serve only to block traffic near the White House.
While the protests Tuesday afternoon were entirely peaceful and non-violent, several federal buildings sustained damage in previous demonstrations.
The damaged buildings included those housing the departments of Veterans Affairs and Treasury, as well as the Export-Import Bank. Other federal offices in the area appeared unscathed as of Tuesday.
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