Federal police officers were asking National Guard whether they utilized ‘heat ray’ against protestors. The protesters were gathered in the surroundings of the White House in summer, based on a letter sent in responding to the protest to Congress from a senior officer who was involved. This news has created a snew sensation across the country now. They were inquiring about these tools just before the demonstrators started protesting on June 1st evening. The protests were against the death of George Floyd. They were later forcibly removed the location that was the Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. by the authorities. They used shields, rubber bullets, and chemical irritants as well to disperse the protest.
Later, President Trump came in along with his administration to the historic St. John’s Church. He drew wide condemnation through posing with a Bible. There was a written response sent to the House Committee, and it was on Natural resources. The resources were shared and obtained by NPR, as per the statement given by D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco. “I was copied on an email sent from the Provost Marshal, Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region. He was seeking two things: advice named the Active Denial System and LRAD or Long-Range Acoustic Device.” “ADS are a weapon that uses short radio waves, and the military designs it. The device offers a sensation of intense heat, and it affects mainly the surface of the skin. There will be an intense burning feeling, and that is the reasoning tool is also named Pain ray or ‘heat ray.’
As per DeMarco, “The email was stating that the lead military police officers showed their interest in the ADS. The reason was through ADS; they can immediately compel protestors to cease their threatening behavior. More than that, the effect is overwhelming, and that causes immediate repel response from that targeted individual.” The device is designed and developed by the military. They use it as a crowd dispersal tool. But, not now, the devices were earlier used at least decades ago. Later, ADS was abandoned mainly since there were doubts about its effectiveness. More than that, there were a lot of ethical questions that arose against the device usage. The ADS tool can result in searing pain. But, the good thing about the tool is there will not be any physical damage.
During Trump’s ear, this is not the first time where ADS inquiry is questioned or reported. There were reports even at the end of August, and it was a few weeks before the 2018 midterms. The time when President Trump was issuing dire warnings regarding caravans that were heading towards the US border. Caravans were demanding extreme action, and to stop them, there was an idea of deploying the weapon to the respected officials standing at the Department of Homeland Security. The idea was raised by Customs and Border Protection officials. But, the secretary of Homeland Security at that time, Kirstjen Nielsen, shot down the idea.
DeMarco also wrote that “The provost marshal also requested a certain type of a long-range acoustic device, the device which was commonly used for dispersing crowds. The device known as LRAD can release a piercing noise, which helps to broadcast voice or sometimes a recording at the spot at a deafening level. When the LRAD is used, even the people at the back of the crowd can hear the voice or recording. Even though LARD is commonly used in such instances, based on the report, it was not used in June. The protestors present near the White House and Lafayette Square said, “There was no warning by police.” As per NPR’s report, since police have not used a warning, they have violated court-ordered regulations.
Based on the 2015 settlement, “There must be enough and warnings must be given to a large crowd by federal police to disperse them. More than that, the warnings given must be loud enough, and it should be heard from blocks away. These warnings should be made before deciding on any aggressive attacks like the usage of chemical irritants against the large crowd. So, before implementing such attacks, they should offer warnings, and LRAD can easily achieve the same.” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Constitutional rights attorney, has filed a lawsuit that is leading to the 2015 guidelines. “There is no evidence that there were officers present who can testify that they were available in the farthest reaches of the protestors or crowd.”
“There must be documentation that they have given notice multiple times. There must be recordings made regarding the notice given. For a reason, we have written all these points specifically and, in fact, unfortunately. We think it will appear in anticipation of what happened in the site at Lafayette Park.” Acting chief of U.S. Park Police, Gregory Monahan quoted to lawmakers in July that, “All his officers were abiding by rules of the agreement. They followed protocols.” DeMarco also wrote to the committee, “He response came half-hour later after he received the email.” The reply was, “D.C. National Guard did not have ADS or LRAD.” Of course, he provided his account as a whistleblower. On that day, DeMarco was working as senior-most D.C. National Guard officer. That day, he was served as a liaison between U.S. Park Police and National Guard.
But, there is one more thing to be noted, the contradiction. There is a contradiction when we compare the Trump administration’s claims and DeMarco’s account claims. Trump administration claims that the protesters on that were violent, which led to or promoted the clearing. But, the other claim is the demonstrators were given enough time to disperse and were given a clear warning. They also claim that tear gas was not used against the protesters. So, based on the claims by the Trump administration, there is no connection between the photo op and the actual clearance of the protestors. They argued and denied the usage of tear gas on the spot against the demonstrators.
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