Secret Service admits using pepper spray on protesters before Trump's Bible photo op despite previous denial

Secret Service admits using pepper spray on protesters before Trump’s Bible photo op despite previous denial


Secret Service admits using pepper spray on protesters before Trump’s Bible photo op despite previous denial

Secret Service admits using pepper spray on protesters before Trump’s Bible photo op despite previous denial

Secret Service admits using pepper spray on protesters before Trump's Bible photo op despite previous denial 1

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The US Secret Service has admitted that an agent did use pepper spray to clear protesters from Lafayette Square ahead of President Donald Trump’s much maligned Bible photo op on 1 June.

In a press release on Saturday, the agency reversed a previous statement that none of its agents had deployed tear gas or pepper spray ahead of the president’s visit to St John’s Church.

The park was crowded with peaceful protesters demanding justice for George Floyd who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer days before.


The statement reads: “On June 5, the US Secret Service released information stating that the agency had concluded that no agency personnel used tear gas or capsicum spray during efforts to secure the area near Lafayette Park on Monday, June 1, based on the records and information available at that time.”

It continues: “Since that time, the agency has learned that one agency employee used capsicum spray (i.e., pepper spray) during that effort.”

The agency clarifies: “The employee utilised oleoresin capsicum spray, or pepper spray, in response to an assaultive individual.”

The statement is the latest correction from either a law enforcement agency or government official, whose initial accounts were in stark contrast to what protesters and reporters saw on the ground and what many witnessed live in news broadcasts.

Attorney General William Bar has changed his account as to whether he personally ordered the clearing of the park, and the Park Police have given differing statements as to whether tear gas was used.

Witnesses have said that rubber pepper spray, tear gas, flashbangs and rubber bullets were deployed against the peaceful protesters.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley has apologised for his presence at the photo op — he was seen walking out of the White House in military fatigues.

“My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics,” he said on Thursday.

The White House has not given a conclusive account of the events.


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