June 02, 2020

Warren Calls for an Independent Watchdog Investigation of Role of Military in "Sickening and Appalling" Attack on Peaceful Protestors at the White House

Americans Protesting Death of Black Americans at the Hands of Police "Ambushed" with Rubber Bullets and Chemical Gas to Create Blatant Political Photo-Op for the President; Photo-Op Included Defense Secretary Esper and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley

Text of Letter to DoD IG (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) formally requested the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General to conduct an immediate investigation of the role of DoD civilian and military officials in the attack on peaceful protesters at the White House and the response to the nationwide protests that began in May 2020. Peaceful Americans protesting the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer were shot at with rubber bullets and tear-gassed so the President could partake in a blatantly political photo opportunity that included DoD Secretary Mark T. Esper and General Mark A. Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Warren wrote: "These attacks on peaceful American protesters steps from the White House were sickening and appalling. And the potential role of DoD civilian and military leadership in ordering these attacks and then participating in a political propaganda event with the President raises profound and troubling questions about whether the President "understand(s) either his role as commander in chief or the role of the military that is sworn to protect the Constitution from all enemies," and about the response of DoD civilian and military leadership to this lack of understanding, which risks further eroding the apolitical nature of our uniformed military." 

Warren asked the DoD IG to investigate the extent to which DoD personnel were involved in the attack and in responding to ongoing protests in other locations in Washington D.C. and across the country, about the rules of engagement and chain of command during the DoD activities, and about the specific role of Secretary Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley in the attack on protestors at the White House and the national response to the protests.