Justice Department Reaches Settlements with Far-Left Groups over Lafayette Square Riots

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a partial settlement with several far-left activist groups over the removal of violent rioters from Lafayette Square in June of 2020.

According to Axios, the settlements address four different lawsuits that were filed following the events of June 1st. At the time, violent riots had begun breaking out all across the country after the accidental death of George Floyd, a black man who died of a fentanyl overdose while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Riots took place in Washington D.C., including in Lafayette Square just north of the White House, with numerous instances of damage to private businesses and assaults against civilians, as well as the destruction and vandalism of many historic monuments. On the night of May 31st, rioters attempted to burn down the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, located in the square, where almost every sitting President of the United States has gone at least once, often for Inauguration Day ceremonies. Although rioters initially blocked emergency vehicles from trying to reach the scene, firefighters were ultimately able to put out the fire and save the church.

The following day, President Donald Trump gave an address from the Rose Garden vowing to crack down on riots and protect American monuments. While he was giving his speech, rioters were continuing to cause chaos in Lafayette Square before ultimately being cleared out by police. President Trump then left the White House and walked to St. John’s Church, accompanied by numerous high-ranking administration officials, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Attorney General William Barr, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, and others, in a powerful display that demonstrated how efficiently the rioters had been removed from the area.

Despite numerous allegations in the mainstream media and from Democratic officials claiming that the rioters were peaceful and had been violently removed using tear gas, a watchdog report confirmed that this was not the case. Nevertheless, the far-left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed multiple lawsuits on behalf of Black Lives Matter D.C. and 13 of the rioters.

The DOJ announced that “the plaintiffs, Black Lives Matter D.C. and individuals who attended the protests, agreed to dismiss their claims for equitable relief against the United States.” The DOJ statement added that the United States Park Police and the Secret Service have “agreed to update and clarify their policies governing demonstrations, and to implement the policy changes within 30 days of today’s settlement.”

Radical activists celebrated the settlement, with Black Lives Matter D.C.’s April Goggans declaring that the result was “a win for the ongoing resistance against all attempts to subvert dissent.” ACLU spokesperson Scott Michelman declared the settlement to be “an important step to protect protesters’ rights so that what happened on June 1, 2020 doesn’t happen again.”

About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: A protest near Lafayette Square Park on May 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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