During a fiery exchange with Attorney General Barr, Rep. Jayapal warned Barr “i’m starting to lose my temper.”
“Mr. Barr, on June 1, there were protests against the murder of George Floyd and police brutality in Lafayette Park. Let us not be distracted … as to what these protests were actually about. They were about the persistent killing of black bodies by law enforcement and finally, finally, an awakening in America of the conscience of our country,” she said.
“And yet, your response, Mr. Barr, was to direct federal officers to close in on the protesters and to use shields offensively as weapons, tear gas, pepper balls, irritants, explosive devices, batons, and horses to clear the area just so the president could get a photo op. So I do want to ask you, do you think that your response, do you think the response at Lafayette Square to tear gas, pepper spray, and beat protesters and injure American citizens who were just simply exercising their First Amendment rights was appropriate?” she asked.
“Well, first, to my understanding, … no tear gas was used,” Barr responded.
“You talked about chemical irritants. And it has been proven false by reports. So just answer the question. Do you think it’s appropriate at Lafayette Park to pepper spray, tear gas, and beat protesters and injure American citizens?” Jayapal said.
“I don’t accept your characterization of what happened. But, as I explained, the effort there —” Barr replied before Jayapal cut him off.
“I just asked you yes or no. … I am starting to lose my temper. According to sworn testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee by Army National Guard Officer Adam DeMarco, who was there, this was ‘an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters,'” Jayapal said.
Barr attempted to respond before Jayapal added, “Mr. Barr, … this is my time. Sir, sir, the president told governors on a telephone call that the way to deal with the protesters of police brutality and systemic racism like in Lafayette Square is that ‘you have to get much tougher.'”
Rep. Jayapal: I’m starting to lose my temper pic.twitter.com/TBuAOjVOU0
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) July 28, 2020