Mayor Bowser Holds Media Availability, 5/31/20

good afternoon everybody I'm Uriel

Bowser I'm mayor of Washington DC I'm

joined by members of my administration

the Chief of Police Peter Newsom

and the city administrator Rashad young

we're here today to provide an update on

the district's response to protests in

the district over night in yesterday I

want to start by saying we certainly

recognize and empathize with the outrage

that people feel following the killing

in Minneapolis last week and we

certainly empathized that the killing of

George Floyd wasn't the first and that

people were expressing outrage and

demanding action we also recognize that

we are proud of our city and we do not

want our city to be destroyed so our

police and firefighters and members of

the public safety team for Washington DC

along with our federal partners have

been working to make sure that people

can exercise their First Amendment

rights while not destroying Washington

DC so I'm going to ask the Chief of

Police to provide an update on MPD's

actions and then we'll take your


okay Thank You mayor Bowser I have to

say I have been proud of my mayor a lot

of times as my career as the chief of

police and as an officer here in the

city one of those more proud times was

three o'clock this morning when the

mayor and I were out looking at some of

the damage that happened in our city so

thank you mayor Bowser in Washington DC

we witnessed demonstrations on a daily

basis and MPD facilitates thousands of

events annually prior to last night the

demo demonstration durations around the

tragic death of George Floyd in our city

were largely peaceful and done so in a

safe in a respectful way without

destroying city property or harming

people unfortunately yesterday that

changed yesterday around 1:30 we did

have a number of peaceful demonstrations

in the city a hundreds of people came to

Washington DC to demonstrate peacefully

and I want to thank those including our

local black lives matter group who held

a very large but peaceful car caravan

throughout our city just after 4:00 p.m.

though the u.s. Park Police advised that

several agitators began throwing our

objects at their police officers at

around 4:30 p.m. the majority of the

demonstrators were concentrated at 17th

and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest they

broke the glass they spray-painted and

flattened the tires of three US Secret

Service uniformed division vehicles a

little bit before 6:00 p.m. that same

group began to march southbound on 17th

Street Northwest continuing towards

Constitution Avenue around 7:00 p.m. a

small number of subjects were involved

in multiple instances of intentional

vandalism and destruction of private and

government property most of that

occurred just north of Lafayette Park in

our central business district there were

multiple instances of rocks bottles and

incendiary devices being thrown at law

enforcement person personnel who were

protecting Lafayette Park and other

parts of our city north of the park

there were windows being shattered and

grafitti being sprayed around at 9:00

p.m. rioters started throwing incendiary

devices at officers and setting small

fires around the city and looting some

of our businesses again just north of

Lafayette Park two vehicles I want to

correct that three vehicles were set on

fire and the agitators were able to

set a structure that was attached to one

of our buildings that was under

construction on fire there were two

other small fires in small businesses a

DC fire and EMS to their credit were

quick to extinguish these fires as well

as many other small fires that were set

in dumpsters and trash receptacles MPD

worked closely throughout the day and

the night and early into this morning

with our local law enforcement and

federal partners to manage the chaos in

some instances the Metropolitan Police

Department deployed OC spray and sting

balls the Metropolitan Police Department

made 17 arrests I've been asked a few

times where the arrestees were from we

had one arrestee that was from

Chesterfield Virginia three from

Alexandria one from Woodbridge a three

who had no fixed address one we were

unable to determine an address and the

eight remaining had some ties or lived

in Washington DC the arrestees were

charged 14 were charged with rioting two

were charged with burglary and one was

charged with simple assault I don't

anticipate that will be the all of the

arrests that we make a relative to this

incident the downtown business district

in Washington DC has a very

sophisticated and expansive video system

some of that is owned by the government

some of that is owned by private

businesses this is a period of time

where we are initially going to ask our

private businesses to review the footage

that they own if they have images of

anybody who destroyed property or hurt

people in Washington DC last night and

into the smart this morning we asked

them to share that with us you can call

us on 202 727 9 0 9

we will also have our Criminal

Investigations Division be scouring the

government cameras for anybody that was

involved in that behavior when we have

those images we will share them with the

public and here is where we will ask our

community in Washington DC and in our

region to help us identify those folks

who came into our city with the

intention of destroying property and

hurting people we always in Washington

DC welcome welcome peaceful protests

it's necessary in our American society

but we can't have people coming into our

city who are going to destroy property

or hurt people

we had 11 MPD officers who were injured

the injuries sustained are all


but we have one member who suffered a

significant compound leg fracture and is

undergoing surgery today in addition to

this destruction of businesses and the

fires we had 29 Metropolitan Police

Department vehicles that were either

damaged or spray-painted going into

today and this evening there are some

events planned here in the city we are

hoping and urging participants to be

peaceful and we are hoping that cooler

heads will prevail in the event that we

have agitators who return to our city

MPD will be prepared thank you and I'm

going to return it back to Mayor Bowser

I think for any questions questions

questions yes well let me just start by

saying that the chief and NPD certainly

have had been deployed throughout the

evening and providing me updates

throughout the night on major events and

things happening in around the time

I went out I think the majority of the

protesters had been dispersed an MPD was

still working on getting one group out

what I saw and we walked many blocks was

the the number of businesses that had

been either graffiti or windows broken

or worse other property inside damaged

or stolen we saw a number of storefronts

like that but we also saw a beautiful

downtown DC still standing

we saw business owners who had been

awakened or either come from their homes

to clean up board up and get ready to

start again so what we said earlier this

morning that it was maddening to think

that anybody would destroy property put

our officers in danger and put

themselves in danger and while we

understand and protect their right to

protest not to destroy the city yes why

well we know that the people who were

disruptive last night are not likely

curfew followers and so the the Chiefs

deployment plan will address how to deal

with crowds and certainly how to deal

with splinter groups that split off from

the main crowd right wait what are you

saying to the residents of DC about who

were out yesterday and what is your

message to those well I think you you

heard from the chief the people who were

arrested by MPD were a mix of people and

I would say that was my impression also

I think especially in the early part of

the day

but were largely peaceful and I think as

the evening went on that changed to a

kind of a bent on destruction I think

what the chief also reports to me that

many seemed organized and had tools to

break windows and tools or a strategy to

distribute materials among them so I

would say the thing that we're struck by

is that it was an organized group that

appeared more bent on destruction on

then on protests I don't I don't know

any other questions okay yes mark so can

you tell us what the plan is for today

and tonight going into the dark and Chi

can you tell us if you're all hands on

deck right now just I know you don't

want to to wait your tactics and whatnot

but can you kind of give us an idea what

you're facing and what your plan is for


so mark you're right to just add to what

the mayor said - regarding who the

people were that were involved I think

as we make additional arrests and we

will it will have a clearer picture of

potential groups or organized groups

that were involved in this with regards

to tactics tonight mark you're

absolutely right we're not going to

discuss tactics because of other people

who want to come to our city intent on

destroying things and hurting people we

would not want to tip them off but we

will have this sufficient metropoliz

Department resources to manage this the

idea in these cases particularly when

you have the volatility that we had last

night is to manage it to the best degree

possible to get things under the under

control which the Metropolitan Police

Department was able to do the mayor made

a very good point it's extremely

difficult to to hurt a city that's as

beautiful as ours of course we saw fires

we saw destruction of property but the

city is already underway and and the

business owners are underway to

repairing that so we will be prepared I

am very hopeful like I said earlier the

cooler heads will prevail we will hope

for the best and plan for the worst I

just wondered how can you hear me yes hi

there it's that England from the party

and I just wanted to achieve have

different tactics and ways that you

handle these demonstrations involved in

the last few years and do you feel like

you're better prepared now than you

might have been four or five years ago

to keep things peaceful and and things

from getting out of them yeah the the

key to these types of activities and you

know as you know we have thousands of

demonstrations throughout our city every

year practically on a daily basis they

are managed without event we rarely have

to make arrests when we have

demonstrations in our city and the

people who get arrested or not the

demonstrators it's the people who are

intent on coming here our tactics with

regards to demonstrations is constantly

evolving we will do after actions as we

do whenever we have an instance like

this to make sure we do it better the

next time but if you if you ask most

police departments across the country

they look to the Metropolitan as a

leader for handling these types of

things Jordan from wamu hi yes mayor

Bowser what's your message to the owners

of businesses that were harmed last

night and is there any sort of

assistance that the city can or will

provide and kind of helping to clean up

well I had the opportunity to speak with

a number of business owners and I would

say their emotion in reaction range from

sadness to empathy on to anger but they

all were resolved to clean up and get

their business back to work we are

working with the Business Improvement


districts in the areas impacted the

downtown DC bid in the Golden Triangle

bid our agency's DPW walked with us last

night a DPW on our DPW crews were at


from that point on cleaning up and our


will be able to assist businesses with

boarding where boarding is necessary and

throughout the week of course we'll stay

in touch with our impacted businesses

Tom Thank You mayor good morning good

afternoon you activated the National

Guard or requested it be activated back

on March 11 for the public health

emergency what role if any is the

National Guard playing now and if you

ask the Secretary of the army to

activate it who will who will they

report to the police chief or will they

act on their own I'm Tom you are right I

have an earlier request for the National

Guard up to 500 troops I'm here to

assist us and I can redeploy them and

they will work with the Chief of Police

in any new redeployment that we need and

that I have discussed with the Secretary

of the army we will if we need to all

right yep so yesterday you had said that

President Thomas remark made your city

less safe do you hold him it it all

responsible for what happened last night

I also said mark this morning that I

think that the president has a role to

play nationally in calming the the

unrest that we see in cities across

America and I think the at least he has

to not incite

violence and that's what we would expect

G dude is he insane

well I can't say that I paid much

attention to what's come out so far this

morning I heard that he may make an

address on to the nation and if he does

I hope that it is presidential and that

it calls Americans to come but also

directs the attention and resources of

the government to addressing the

immediate needs that we see in

longer-term ones to George and so what

I'm asking about Lafayette Park I know

you know it's a federal part and yet

federal law enforcement there but I'm

wondering how Metro Police is

coordinating with them and if that's so

much you know a very intensive use of

police force there that you're worried

that you know other things are happening

elsewhere well I will say and I'm gonna

ask the chief to speak to this

specifically but also looking back and

all at the times yesterday I said that

we have literally supported our federal

partners and demonstrations around our

Lafayette Park a dozens of times if not

more and our approach is similar that

the chief and his counterparts to

establish a unified command and they

make decisions on how best to keep the

district's safe including that federal

assets so let me turn to the chief so we

work in close cooperation with our

federal partners all the time here in

Washington DC yesterday was no different

the way that we communicate is the the

Chiefs of Police for the u.s. Park

Police the US Secret Service uniformed

division the leadership at the US Secret

Service the FBI and the other federal

agencies we communicate regularly

throughout the day I would for most of

the day I was in the joint operations

command center which has we have

which can monitor events throughout the

city and we can direct resources from

there there are representatives from our

federal agencies in there so in the

event we cannot get directly in contact

with the leadership we have a somebody

there that can direct resources from

those agencies with regards to you know

the federal assets being in Lafayette

Park that's just by virtue of

jurisdiction they have jurisdiction down

there we have jurisdiction for the

street and so it's incumbent upon us to

work cooperatively or when things like

this happen

the officer was hit by a brick and has

sustained a significant injury a

compound fracture as it was described

multiple compound fracture to his leg

and he went into surgery this morning I

don't know if the surgery has been


he was north of Lafayette Park we had a

number of police officials and officers

that were being attacked with bricks and

the one of the things that we saw in

this event that we have not seen in the

past as they were throwing incendiary

devices at police officers I think you

all captured some images of that and

that's particularly disturbing but to

the police officers credit and I didn't

mention this earlier

the behavior of our police was

incredibly responsible heroic in many

instances and I think that I couldn't

have been more proud of the folks that

were out there and the one thing that

everybody has to keep in mind we will be

out there again to ensure that our city

is safe and if we have to be out there

we will be out there as long as we need

to be to ensure that the city is safe we

we know of some planned demonstrations

our expectations are that people will

peacefully assemble here in the city as

they do 99% of the time and we won't

have a repeat of the events of last


okay last two questions

Amanda Amanda hello good afternoon good

afternoon two quick questions

the first is many reporters on the

ground didn't notice this week a great

understandably book great police

presence and but I wonder do you believe

police at any point escalated action the

launching of tear gas and I'm wondering

if you're reviewing the conduct conduct

of law enforcement and then I have a

second question about koban thank you

I think the chief addressed that and

always in operations like this there are

after-action reviews and this one will

be no different

okay uh do you intend to make public

that review quick follow on that or when

well when will we learn the inside about

review well we're still responding so it

won't be today do you have another

question yes are you are you concerned

about a possible spike given given

people obviously shouting yes we're very

concerned about it I had a quick call

with the health director this morning

and we saw mass gathering basically

we've been working hard for the last

eight ten weeks on not having any mass

gatherings we saw some social distancing

some mask-wearing we have people from

all over that we're here in fact in

cities across America we had the same

experience so I think as a nation we

have to be concerned about rebound

Sophie sorry my question was what

manages also thanks for answering it

okay thank you and chief do you have

anything to say about the general timing

of after actions anytime the

Metropolitan Police Department uses

force in the District of Columbia we do

an investigation into that use of force

our Internal Affairs Division I will be

conducting it for a

that like this as we did with the

inauguration the results of that those

investigations will be made public the

timing of that often is dictated by any

potential lawsuits that may delay the

release or the mayor is absolutely right

the public release of those documents

will be determined by things that happen

after today and it won't be probably

won't be in the near future