July 24, 2020

Following Hirono-led Advocacy, IG Will Review DOJ’s Use of Force Against Peaceful Protesters in Lafayette Square and Portland

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, following advocacy from Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) announced it will investigate DOJ’s use of force on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square and Portland, Oregon.

“As protesters across the country have peacefully demanded their government address systemic racial inequality and police brutality against Black Americans, they have been met with militarized force and breathtaking violence by federal agents—some of it just so President Trump could get a photo op and help his reelection campaign. There must be accountability for these acts of violence against Americans, and I welcome this investigation regarding my original requests as well as the events in Portland, Oregon,” Senator Hirono said.

This announcement follows a June letter Senator Hirono led with 20 Senate Democrats to DOJ IG Michael Horowitz asking for an investigation into Attorney General William Barr and the DOJ’s roles in directing the use of force against peaceful protesters near Lafayette Square. 

According to the IG’s response letter to the Senator, the investigation will include examination of “the training and instruction that was provided to the DOJ law enforcement personnel; compliance with applicable identification requirements, rules of engagement, and legal authorities; and adherence to DOJ policies regarding the use of less-lethal munitions, chemical agents, and other uses of force.”