DC police department refuses to say how they are preparing for potential election day protests
Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF
The Metropolitan Police Department refused to discuss how it is preparing for potential violence and protests leading up to election day, and D.C. Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser has not responded to requests for comment.
Protests and riots have occurred in major cities across the nation, including Washington, D.C., since George Floyd died while in the custody of former Minneapolis police officers in May.
MPD reportedly spent $130,000 on “less-lethal” munitions and “training kits” on June 1, WUSA reported. MPD Chief Peter Newsham said the purchase was made to prepare for post-election protests and possible riots, though the MPD would not confirm plans to confront post-election demonstrations to the Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday.
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) spokeswoman Alaina Gertz told the DCNF that “MPD members will provide special attention (increased patrols) to the areas around polling places to ensure that order is maintained.”
Gertz declined to elaborate on plans for the evening of Nov. 3, but said the department collaborates with local and federal law enforcement partners to maintain order.
“The Department’s general order in reference to Police Arrangements for Election Day Voting Process is available” online, Gertz said.
The general order detailing MPD’s police arrangements for election day was released in June 2003. The document only addresses police duties outside of voting hours once, when it says that officers must give “special attention” to polling places the night before and after an election.
DC Police buy $100,000 in tear gas in preparation for possible 'civil disturbance' in coming months https://t.co/ycOrHXq99X
— WUSA9 (@wusa9) October 15, 2020
“Members shall maintain order and take police action when conditions warrant such action,” the document says. The harassment of voters is not permitted under the general order.
A single canister of teargas purchased from A2Z supply costs around $26, CBS News reported. “For information regarding MPD purchases, please contact the DC Office of Contracting and Procurement,” Gertz said, in reference to the quantity and kinds of munitions purchased by the MPD.
The D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Protests have consistently occurred in Washington, D.C., since Floyd’s death. While most have been largely peaceful, protesters destroyed property the weekend following Floyd’s death and then harassed guests leaving the White House after an RNC event, the DCNF reported.
Bowser’s office did not respond to calls or email requests for comment.