A little over a week ago, on the evening of May 25, 2020, a man called George Floyd paid for cigarettes with what appeared to be a counterfeit $20 bill. The employees of the Cup Store in Minneapolis, where he’d just purchased the cigarettes, confronted him but he was not forthcoming, so they called the police. Less than an hour after the initial encounter, George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin, while Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao helped him. If you do nothing else today, spend some time with this excellent, devastating, graphic piece of journalism from the New York Times.
Yesterday afternoon, Mayor Muriel Bowser declared curfew starting at 7 p.m. She held an update at 5 p.m. (highlights here) and went over the strategy for the evening. However, journalists such as Tom Sherwood and Colbert King expressed concern that President Trump might try to exercise Federal control over the Metropolitan Police Department. If there was a doubt, it was amplified when reports started coming in that a little past 6:30 p.m., over 20 minutes before the curfew was enacted, peaceful protesters were teargassed and removed by force from Lafayette Park, most likely by Park Police. (Washington Post, Yamiche Alcindor via Twitter). Rev. Gini Gerbasi, the priest assigned to St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square yesterday – also known as Church of the Presidents– as well as several seminarians, and clergy from other denominations were all pushed off the patio at St. John’s so President Trump could have a photo/video op with a bible. The Very Reverend Marian E. Budde, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, did not appreciate having one of her churches used by the President “as a backdrop, [behaving in a way] antithetical to the teachings of Jesus,” especially since the President did not come to pray or share in the grief. Religion News and Now This
If you think the actions at Lafayette Square demand answers and an investigation, consider signing a petition drafted by Will Kennedy Smith, ANC 2A04, asking just that. Be warned– Change.org is very slow today, but your signature is important. Change.org
Around the Hill, curiously only two pharmacies, Grubb’s at 4th and East Capitol and Morton’s at 8th and East Capitol, had windows broken during the protests. Grubb’s was hit on Sunday evening and Morton’s last night. On H Street, the CVS at the corner of 7th and H NE also had a broken window. A Ma Maniere, 1100 block of H Street NE and Maketto, 1300 block of H Street NE, also had broken windows. Maketto’s windows were broken Sunday evening; A Ma Maniere’s, Monday night. Over on Bladensburg, W.S. Jenks was also hit. Several readers have sent in photos of places boarding up their windows in preparation for tonight. You can see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. A huge thank-you to everyone who’s tagged us over on Twitter. If you haven’t yet joined Twitter, I encourage you to join me over there for breaking news and information. It’s sometimes chaotic, but it’s good and we can all keep each other company.
(Incidentally, why pharmacies? Across the street from Grubb’s, the Corner Market was untouched. Kittycorner from Morton’s, Capitol Valet was also intact.)
FYI, Metro is closing their service at 9 p.m. You can read more here.
The primary election is still happening today and voting precincts will remain open until 8 p.m., one full hour after tonight’s curfew. Voting has been deemed essential and so you can be outside until you have voted. If you can, please vote early. Do it out of consideration for poll workers and volunteers, who will have to make it home after the polls have closed. FYI:
Remember: You can vote at ANY PRECINCT today. And please remember that there is curbside voting available as well. You can watch election returns via WebEx through this link.
Many are asking Mayor Bowser to lift tonight’s curfew, starting with Councilmember Charles Allen:
Having a 7 p.m. curfew on election night is a clear deterrent to the people’s right to vote. It may sound like a conciliatory statement, but it’s important to remember that the Federal government is being hostile toward our local government and undermining the decisions of our Mayor and Council.
Finally, if you were a protestor who was… well, stuck overnight on Swann St. NW, and haven’t filed a police complaint for the way you were treated, you may do so here. The link comes via a statement from Charles Allen’s office. The full statement is below
I want DC residents to know that as the Chair of the DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, my office will be conducting oversight of incidents where individual rights or personal safety may have been violated by law enforcement, keeping in mind that the Committee maintains jurisdiction only over local police. This specifically includes a review into the activities last night along Swann St., NW.
Residents should also know that the District has an independent, civilian police complaints agency – the Office of Police Complaints – with jurisdiction over the Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Housing Authority Police Department. OPC maintains a 24-hour hotline at 1-866-588-0569, and online complaint filing is available here: https://policecomplaints.dc.gov/page/office-police-complaints-online-complaint-form.
For anyone who was at Swann St., NW last night, if you want to share your experience with my Committee staff, you can email Judiciary@DCCouncil.us. Please note my Committee staff is assisting me in protest and election monitoring today, so thank you in advance for your patience in responding.
Finally, I want to remind everyone that the DC Council does not have any authority over the federal government agencies who have been brought in by President Trump or otherwise have jurisdiction over federal lands – it is one more reason why the District of Columbia must be the 51st State and maintain complete autonomy over our affairs. The escalation of federal agents and military helicopters is outrageous, deliberately provocative, and making the situation more dangerous, cracking down on Americans peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights
The emphasis on the last part of the statement is mine. Please, neighbors: Remember that not all the police and helicopter activity you saw last night was carried out by the Metropolitan Police Department. The Federal infringement upon our District was uncalled for.