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. 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.
“Every single morning between 2 and either 4:30 on Black Lives Matter Plaza, the Metropolitan Police Department is either brutalizing someone, kicking out unhoused people, and it’s just insane,” Goggans said. “She knows it’s happening because it’s all over the news. So to allow that, that’s something we should be in the streets about.”
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, which Allen calls 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.