Acting Chief of the United States Park Police (USPP) Gregory Monahan said security forces did not use tear gas against protesters near the White House on Monday, as has been widely reported by US and international media.
He also challenged the reported claim that the protest had been peaceful.
Moments before Trump was set to speak on Monday, law enforcement suddenly marched forward, directly confronting hundreds of protesters who had gathered to protest against the death of George Floyd. Many held up their hands, saying, “Don’t shoot.”
Soon, in images seen on live television, law enforcement officers were seen forcing the protesters back, deploying flashbangs and other riot dispersal weapons into the crowd.
After addressing reporters, Trump then made an unexpected walk from his residence, across Lafayette Park and to the historic St John’s Episcopal Church, that was damaged during unrest the night before.
He paused for an apparent photo-op, posing with members of his administration, and holding up a Bible.
In the statement Monahan denied that the protest was peaceful saying, saying “violent protesters” began “throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids”.
“Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street,” Monahan said.