Washington National Guard Leaders Asking For Investigation Into The Use Of Helicopters To Disperse Protesters
The District of Columbia National Guard has asked for an investigation into the use of military helicopters to force protesters in the George Floyd demonstration to disperse, according to comments received by The Hill.
D.C. National Guard spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Brooke Davis told the publication that one of her superiors has called for the investigation into the June 1 use of the aircraft.
“Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, District of Columbia National Guard Commanding General, has directed an investigation into a June 1 low-flying maneuver conducted by one of our rotary aviation assets.”
The spokesperson went on to say that the guard’s mission is to keep citizens safe, and there is concern that the helicopters interfered with citizens’ right to protest peacefully.
“Our highest priority is the safety of our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen who support civil authorities as they perform their duties. This is our home, and we are dedicated to the safety and security of our fellow citizens of the District and their right to safely and peacefully protest.”
Helicopters were used to assist in the enforcement of the new 7 p.m. curfew that was put into place after protests that devolved into riots came to the front gates of the White House just days ago.
According to The Hill, however, the concern among guardsmen was the use of the unarmed helicopter that had medevac and Red Cross markings on it. Multiple aircraft with the markings were on duty and used to create a rotor wash, which is a harsh downward push of air, to disperse crowds.
Geoffrey Corn, a former Army lawyer and professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, told The Washington Post that the use of those particular aircraft was “a foolish move” and that the symbols note the “noncombatant” function.
The issue has drawn increased attention since guardsmen dispersed crowds that were characterized as “largely” peaceful.
The Inquisitr previously reported on the use of helicopters during the protests in Washington, D.C., with some hovering around 100 feet above the streets and forcing occupants to scatter. The gusts of wind made it difficult for protesters and reporters to stay, or even open their eyes to move away from the area safely, thanks to sand and debris flying in the area. Several windows were broken as well as small tree branches snapped in the downward force presented by the rotors.
The tactic did seem effective, however, with protests seeing a significant de-escalation from just days prior.