More than 1,250 alumni of the Department of Justice are calling on inspector general Michael Horowitz to immediately open and conduct an investigation of the full scope of Attorney General William Barr’s and The Department of Justice’s response to the nationwide lawful protests against recent police brutality and the systemic racism. The alumni published a statement to Medium on Wednesday morning.
In particular, these alumni are disturbed by Attorney General Barr’s possible role in ordering law enforcement personnel to suppress a peaceful domestic protest in Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020, for the purpose of enabling President Trump to walk across the street from the White House and stage a photo op at St. John’s Church, a politically motivated event in which Attorney General Barr participated. And by the Attorney General’s deployment of federal law enforcement officers throughout the country, and especially within the District of Columbia, to participate in quelling lawful First Amendment activity.
“Based on what we now know, these actions violated both the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects freedom of speech and the press, and the right to assemble; and the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable seizures, to include objectively unreasonable uses of force by law enforcement officers,” the statement’s signatories write. “None of us would ever have considered directing or engaging in such actions to be consistent with our oaths to support and defend the Constitution.”
The signatories comprise individuals who have served in both career and high-ranking politically-appointed positions in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Some had careers that spanned decades and multiple administrations.
Their full statement can be read here.