The acting chief of the U.S. Park Police on Tuesday defended the actions of federal law enforcement agents who cleared Black Lives Matter protesters from outside the White House in early June prior to President Trump's photo op in front of St. John's Episcopal Church.
In his testimony at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing, Chief Gregory Monahan said his decision to remove protesters from Lafayette Square on June 1 was unrelated to Trump's visit to the church which had been set on fire by rioters the night before.
"We were notified earlier in the day that the president was going to visit Lafayette Park to view the damage that was done to the park over the course of the preceding days, but we were not given a time on when he was visiting," Monahan said. "There is 100% zero correlation between our operation and the president's visit to the church," he added.
Questioned about the use of force captured on video, Monahan noted that the viral video footage did not show the level of previous violence against law enforcement.
He said the incident at Lafayette Square was "one of the most violent" protests he has ever encountered and that his officers used "tremendous restraint."
"The use of force that we utilized was in direct correlation to the level of violence that we were subjected to... [It was] in line with our policies and procedures," Monahan testified.