“All points of view are welcome here at this rally!” a speaker yelled out at the Mother of All Rallies as a crowd of Park Police and militia members—at least some of whom were 3% militia members— circled around a few antifa activists who said they had only wandered by to go to the bathroom.
Drew Abrogi, a steering committee member of No Justice No Pride, tried to approach the circle with his camera.
“Back up please,” says someone dressed like a militia member.
“You’re not a law enforcement officer,” Abrogi says.
“I’m asking you nicely to please back up.”
“If the police want me to back up, I’ll back up but I will not back up for you.”
Abrogi then turns to a Park Police officer and asks “Why are you working alongside these people who are not police officers?”
“Because I’m doing my job,” the bald officer says. “They work for me.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Park Police said that the Park Police regularly collaborate with marshals provided by event-holders to help ensure security.
“That being said, these marshals are neither trained nor supervised by the Park Police and they do not have any law enforcement power,” Park Police sergeant Anna Rose said. “What the officer said does not depict the viewpoint or the policies of the US park police.”
Rose went on to say, however, that the rest of the video should have been a clear indication that he did not mean that they were working for him, saying that he subsequently said “no, no” to indicate that they did not work for him.
But that’s not what the officer video shows.
“Excuse me? I have that on video?” Abrogi says.
“Have what?” the officer asked.
“That you just said you’re working with a militia.”
“I didn’t say that,” the officer says, clearly contradicting what the video shows.
“You just said ‘these guys work for me.’” Abrogi says.
“Come on, man,” the officer says—and then appears to try to intimidate him by asking “Why are you shaking?”
The Park Police may claim that the context makes it clear that the officer did not mean wht he said, but it is the context surrounding the militia that may shows exactly why a citizen might be shaken.
The larger context of the video is that this same militia showed up heavily armed at the so-called Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where a member of a right-wing hate-group eventually committed a terrorist attack, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 20 others.
“You saw the militia walking down the street, you would have thought they were an army,” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said in an attempt to explain why police officers in Charlottesville did not act.
McAuliffe noted that the militia members had better equipment—weapons—than the police in Charlottesville, but in D.C., where there is no open carry, they did not have their guns. But they were wearing paramilitary gear and it is hard to believe that a month after McAuliffe said that police were unable to act in the face of Nazi terror because of the presence of the militias, a Park Police officer in the nation’s capitol would say that a member of one of the very same militia was working for him.
Rose said that the officer had been identified. “We already have spoken with the officer. It has been addressed internally,” she said, but would not give any further details. Democracy in Crisis is seeking to identify the officer.