” Believers in boogaloo ideology — a focus on visible gun ownership, with some advocating for a violent civil war against the federal government — have shown up to protests in Minneapolis, Las Vegas, and other cities, sometimes wearing Hawaiian shirts (based on a movement in-joke) and carrying large guns.”
“members of the boogaloo movement are unlikely to be the majority of those arrested at either the protests or the violence. In Minneapolis, Seattle, Cleveland, Dallas, Atlanta, and elsewhere, the majority of those arrested during the protests and violence haven’t been outside agitators traveling the country to start fights and cause violence. Rather, they’ve been people largely from the same places where they are arrested.”
“if Barr—or Trump, Cotton, or anyone else—think active duty military played an important role in restoring order to Los Angeles, they’re misremembering history. In fact, the L.A. riots offer cautionary lessons about the limits and perils of using military force to restore order and protect lawful protest. Although the National Guard played a critical role in restoring and keeping the peace, the same can’t be said for active-duty Marines and soldiers.”
“The arrival of the guard was desperately anticipated in Los Angeles, where looting and fires spread overnight and left the city smoldering by daybreak on April 30. That morning, I waited outside the Los Angeles Coliseum, where guard units had deployed. But even as the day heated up, the guard troops remained frustratingly cabined inside their armories.
The trouble: Guard soldiers had made it to Los Angeles overnight, but devices to convert their automatic weapons into semiautomatics had not. When he learned of the holdup, Wilson ordered the guard soldiers to hit the streets with one bullet each, and by late afternoon, about 24 hours after violence first erupted, the guard finally began deploying from Exposition Park, home of the Coliseum.
One guardsman marched across the street to where I was standing, and as he and I took in the scene, a man pulled up in his pickup truck and began videotaping the melee. A rioter casually walked over, shot the man in the arm and grabbed his camera. Spotting the guard soldier, the shooter fled; the victim lived.
By the time guard units were fully at work, more than 25 people had died, nearly 600 were wounded and roughly 1,000 fires were burning or had burned.
The guard units were applauded, sometimes literally, as they made their way to ravaged sections of the city. I watched looters thumb their noses at police and then, moments later, melt away when they spotted guard soldiers rolling up to the scene; something about the military’s presence was both intimidating and soothing. In neighborhood after neighborhood, the arrival of the guard meant the diminishment of violence. “They were reassuring to the people who wanted their presence,” Wilson said.”
“But by the time soldiers and Marines were in position, the violence was already subsiding, so their mission was muddied from the start: Authorized to “restore law and order,” they were not empowered to “maintain law and order.” Some military leaders concluded that their authorization thus was no longer valid.”
“In some cases, the cultures and practices of police and soldiers clashed, with dangerous implications. When one pair of LAPD officers, for instance, was preparing to enter a home in response to a report of a domestic dispute, the officers were accompanied by a contingent of Marines. The Marines held back as the officers approached the front door and were greeted with a blast of birdshot. The officers dropped to the ground and one called out, “cover me,” thinking the Marines would point their weapons at the house and be alert for any additional threat. Instead, the Marines opened fire, pummeling the home and its occupants, which included children, with more than 200 rounds. Amazingly, no one was hurt.”
“The Los Angeles riots were extraordinarily violent, but mercifully short-lived, in large measure because of the decisive actions taken by Wilson. They do not, however, stand for the principle that active duty military are the most effective means of suppressing urban violence. In Los Angeles, police and local leadership failed at the outset, to be rescued by state coordination and the National Guard. The Army and Marines came too late to make a difference but just in time to sow confusion and concern.
The history in Los Angeles suggests that solid coordination between the state and federal governments, along with decisive use of the National Guard, can save lives and protect property. It argues against employment of active-duty forces, certainly without consultation and consent of the states. In the current crisis”
“Keep in mind that the current protests and related riots were sparked by the abusive and murderous actions of police officers who are (allegedly) trained to protect the communities in which they live and the public that they serve. It’s difficult to see how the situation is going to be improved by the addition of troops more often trained to kill people and break things—especially when they’re handed weapons and pointed toward antagonists.
“U.S. soldiers are trained for combat against a foreign enemy, not for riot control against Americans,” the Wall Street Journal editorial page warns. “The risk of mistakes would be high, and Mr. Trump would be blamed for any bloodshed from civilian clashes with troops.”
The Journal editors were recoiling not from Tom Cotton’s eagerness to escalate hostilities against American civilians, but from the president’s similar scheme. Trump, too, has proposed sending in the military to battle rioters, even over local objections.”
“it’s exactly that history of domination and imposed order, which treats members of the public as an enemy, overcriminalizes a wide variety of conduct, and disproportionately targets minority communities, that led us to this point. Deploying the military to clear the streets might disperse protesters and looters alike in the short term, but it will exacerbate the problem of authoritarian law enforcement. And that guarantees escalating tensions that, if they’re not addressed, will eventually explode into new conflict.”
“POLITICO spoke to 10 National Guardsmen who have taken part in the protest response across the country since the killing of George Floyd while in police custody. Many Guardsmen said they felt uncomfortable with the way they were used to handle the unrest because demonstrators lumped them in with the police. They felt that while they swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, their presence at times intimidated Americans from expressing their opinions and even escalated the tension.
And in the case of Guardsmen involved in the Lafayette incident, some felt used.
“As a military officer, what I saw was more or less really f—ed up,” said one D.C. Guardsman who was deployed to Lafayette Square last Monday and who, like some others, spoke on condition of anonymity to speak freely. The official line from the White House that the protesters had turned violent, he said, is false.”
““I’m here to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and what I just saw goes against my oath and to see everyone try to cover up what really happened,” the Guardsman continued. “What I saw was just absolutely wrong.””
“One of the Guardsmen at the scene said the White House isn’t being truthful.
“I’ve been tear gassed before. I was there the night before when we got tear gassed, there was tear gas there” on Monday evening, he said. He added that he and some of his soldiers felt the effects of the tear gas from their colleagues because they didn’t have masks on.”
“The U.S. Park Police has acknowledged firing pepper balls into the crowd, which is also a chemical irritant.”
“The officer said he even told Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, just before the Park Police moved in that the protests had been peaceful that day, a sentiment that was shared by three other Guardsmen who were there.”
” As of Monday, 42,700 National Guardsmen were deployed across 34 states and D.C. to deal with protests. At the height of the response last week, 1,200 D.C. National Guardsmen and another 3,900 from 11 states were patrolling the nation’s capital. Defense Secretary Mark Esper gave the order for the out-of-state Guardsmen to begin leaving on Friday; all are expected to return home by Wednesday.”
“Torrie Osterholm, the D.C. National Guard’s director of psychological health, said in an interview that many Guardsmen have reached out to her in the past week to express the pain and confusion they struggled with during and after the mission, both for what they witnessed and how the protesters reacted.
One Guardsman told her, “‘I never thought I’d get a bottle thrown at me and be told I should die and I should kill myself,’” Osterholm said. “There’s not enough Kevlar to protect you from those kinds of statements spoken in your own language.”
Walker, the D.C. Guard commander, acknowledged the challenges Guardsmen faced in a Sunday briefing with reporters.
“I have some Guardsmen whose family members came out and criticized them. ‘What are you doing out here, aren’t you black?’” Walker said. “Of course, we’re all hurting. The nation is hurting.””
“It is unclear whether ordering emergency curfews — that is, telling people they must stay at home and avoid public areas after a certain time in the evening, and increasing public police presence to enforce it — is effective in reducing unrest. Criminologists note there doesn’t appear to be an abundance of research on the matter. But some experts have raised concerns about the way curfews are likely to be enforced in communities of color and argue they could exacerbate the very dynamics that gave rise to the unrest in the first place: namely, that they will encourage confrontational policing at a time when people are demanding the opposite.”
““Curfews are an extremely blunt tool that should only be used sparingly and as a last result. They give police tremendous power to intervene in the lives of all citizens,” he said. “They pose a huge burden on people who work irregular hours, especially people of color in service professions who may need to travel through areas of social disturbance in order to get to and from work at night.””