(John Ransom, Headline USA) President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) settled with Black Lives Matter and other civil rights groups in a lawsuit over the riot at Lafayette Park just blocks from the White House in 2020.
“As part of the settlement, the United States Park Police (USPP) and the United States Secret Service (USSS) agreed to update and clarify their policies governing demonstrations, and to implement the policy changes within 30 days of today’s settlement,” said a DOJ statement on the settlement.
Under the terms of the agreement, federal agents are required to attempt to ‘de-escalate’ with protesters prior to making them disperse over illegal acts, said USA Today.
Justice Department agrees to revise its use-of-force policy to clear crowds after reaching settlement in four civil cases involving BLM protesters in Lafayette Square
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The police are also required to adopt clearer warning signs to protesters that they must disperse before police can force them to leave.
In the statement regarding the settlement, the DOJ also said that the United States Secret Service (USSS) will weaken the protections enjoyed by the president, limiting the use of force to certain conditions that have yet to be disclosed.
The USSS must “amend its policies to provide that the fact that some demonstrators have engaged in unlawful conduct does not ordinarily provide blanket grounds for use of force, crowd dispersal or declaration of unlawful assembly,” said the statement provided by the DOJ.
A report issued in 2021 by the Inspector General’s office found that police actions at the park were the result of rioters who were trying to prevent the installation of anti-scaling fencing to protect federal property from vandalism and other acts.
Lafayette Park is adjacent to the White House and therefore an important place for protesters to be seen, but also sensitive for the federal government because of its proximity to the president’s house.
The lawsuits were filed on behalf of Black Lives Matter D.C. and 13 protesters by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; American Civil Liberties Union of D.C.; the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs; and the law firms of Arnold & Porter; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; and Regan Zambri Long, said the USA Today.