US: Teargas fired at peaceful protest for Trump's photo-op
United States President Donald Trump on Monday said that he would deploy the military if local police cannot stop the violence at protests against the death of George Floyd. Trump was speaking at the White House's Rose Garden in Washington DC. Meanwhile, in the nearby Lafayette Park, the police fired teargas at peaceful protesters. Here's what went down.
At around 6:30 pm local time, police dressed in riot gear pushed peaceful protesters out of Lafayette Park using tear gas, rubber bullets, shields, and horses, Business Insider reported. At 6:44 pm, Trump spoke at the White House briefly. After his speech, he visited St. John's Church across Lafayette Park. He then posed at the church with a Bible in hand.
Trump said, "I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters, but in recent days our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa, and others" He added, "I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson..."
As footage from the protest showed people running for safety, Trump's claim that he was an "ally of all peaceful protesters" came under fire. Many recalled how Trump had called NFL player Colin Kaepernick a "son of a bitch" for kneeling in protest of the national anthem in 2017. Democratic Senator Kamala Harris tweeted, "Donald Trump just tear-gassed peaceful protesters for a photo op."
Floyd died last Monday after a police officer, Derek Chauvin (44), knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd was being arrested for allegedly buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 note. Videos of the incident, where Floyd can be heard complaining "I can't breathe," went viral. The incident has sparked widespread protests across multiple US cities and other parts of the world.
Meanwhile, experts hired by Floyd's family and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner have both concluded his death was a homicide. While the independent experts said Floyd died due to "asphyxiation from sustained pressure," the medical examiner's office said the cause of death is "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression." The latter made no mention of asphyxiation.