May. Adam DeMarco described such preparations – including officials ‘failure to procure a high-level communications unit to warn protesters of dispersal – in an August letter answering follow-up questions after testifying before the House Committee on Natural Resources in June about federal officers’ efforts earlier the same month. DeMarco, who described himself as one of the top National Guard officials on the spot, ran as a Democrat for Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District in 2018.
DeMarco wrote that he responded by saying that the DC National Guard had neither a device nor that he did not know that such an acoustic device was not used in Lafayette Square. When he looked to get the acoustic device the next day, the DC National Guard told him “that they were no longer looking for” it.
Therefore, the US Park Service’s “warnings to spread” did not come from this system, but from “a red and white megaphone” that DeMarco then used, he wrote. He referred in his personal testimony that even 30 meters from the megaphone were “the warnings to spread were barely audible and I was only able to distinguish a few words” – while the protester’s front line was even further away from the warning.
He also referred to a weapons transfer to the DC National Guard in the afternoon of the protest, which he later learned contained “about 7,000 rounds of ammunition.”
A Defense Department official briefed on the matter, minimizing DeMarco’s account, reporting the record, and claiming that emails asking for specific weapons were routine in assessing the available inventory. The official also told the newspaper that federal police failed to acquire a heat radiation unit during the first days of demonstrations in the city.
DeMarco’s lawyer David Laufman disputed this characterization Wednesday, saying there is “no” routine “in asking about the availability of a heat ray for use against U.S. citizens exercising their rights to first amendment.”
In its appearance before the committee in June, DeMarco testified that tear gas was actually being used – contrary to the official account of federal officials.
Conversely, Gregory Monahan, the acting chief of the U.S. Park Police, testified at the time that tear gas was not being used, but his testimony suggested that he defined tear gas as a specific type of gas called CS gas.
This story has been updated with further details.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Gregory Wallace and Jamie Crawford contributed to this report.