The Trump administration faced intense criticism for clearing Black Lives Matter protesters out of Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., when Donald Trump posed in front of St. John’s Church with a bible. Now, new details of the event have emerged suggesting that feds not only wanted to use pepper spray, which they ultimately did, but a “heat ray” device as well.
While the strategy was ultimately not employed, the administration had been stockpiling devices that could be used to make people feel as though their skin was on fire, as New York Magazine reported.
Major Adam D. DeMarco, a National Guard officer who was present on the day of the photo op, provided a whistleblowing account of his experience to an investigating committee. In it, he described transferring 7,000 rounds of ammunition to Washington. Additionally, a Long Range Acoustic Device, known as LRAD, and an Active Denial System (ADS) were considered.
The ADS uses microwave-like rays to make it feel as though anyone within range of its invisible rays feels like their skin is burning.
“The ADS can immediately compel an individual to cease threatening behavior or depart through application of a directed energy beam that provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin. The effect is overwhelming, causing an immediate repel response by the targeted individual,” an internal email revealed by DeMarco showed.
As The Washington Post wrote, the military has been developing the technology for several decades but has so far opted against using it because of ethical and safety concerns. Yet, the Trump administration has reportedly twice considered using the devices. Once, to use against the protesters and another time against migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Reportedly, there were concerns that it could be considered a machine of torture. Two volunteers who experienced the weapon said that it created a feeling like being blasted by a furnace, the pain of which was “intolerable.” However, the pain rapidly dissipated.
One volunteer was blasted at full power and received second-degree burns. It’s also noted that the weapon didn’t work well during testing in the rain, snow, or dust.
“There is nothing ‘routine’ about inquiring about the availability of a heat ray to use against American citizens exercising their first amendment rights,” said the whistleblower’s attorney, David Laufman.
An ADS was sent to Afghanistan several years ago, but it was never actually used.
“Our government shouldn’t be conspiring to use heat rays against us for exercising our constitutional rights,” the American Civil Liberties Union said.
DeMarco has previously contradicted statements from the White House claiming that protesters were violent, necessitating their removal. As The Inquisitr previously reported, he testified that demonstrators were peaceful before being ejected.