Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is urging Sean O’Donnell — the Department of Defense’s acting inspector general — to investigate the U.S. Military’s forceful response to the protesters in Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday night, Warren — who also serves as a Senate Armed Services Committee — released a letter addressed to O’Donnell expressing concern about the treatment on Facebook.
The Democratic senator is now requesting “an investigation of the involvement of civilian and military Department of Defense (DoD) personnel in suppressing peaceful domestic protests.”
“This ‘ambush’ of American citizens who were protesting the killing of [George] Floyd was created to allow the President to 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 also shared a series of tweets and called for Esper and General Mark A. Milley to testify and offer an explanation to the American people about the events that unfolded in Lafayette Square.
I’ve asked the @DoD_IG to conduct an immediate investigation into the role of @DeptofDefense civilian and military officials at protests in Washington DC and other cities throughout the country. pic.twitter.com/iy9rYyNYVD— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 3, 2020
Warren’s letter to O’Donnell comes amid criticism of U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper following Trump’s press briefing and the series of events that transpired during and after.
Esper has offered his side of the story, as IJR reported. Wednesday morning, he also held a press briefing at the Pentagon where he condemned the murder of George Floyd and confirmed he does not believe the 1807 Insurrection Act should be issued for this situation.
“I’ve always believed and continue to believe that the National Guard is best suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations in support of local law enforcement,” Esper said.
“I say this not only as secretary of Defense, but also as a former soldier and a former member of the National Guard, the option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” Esper said.
He added, “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”
See Esper’s remarks below:
Following Esper’s statement, he took questions about the incident. As of Wednesday morning, it is unclear whether or not Warren’s request for an investigation will be granted.