House Democrats on the Appropriations Committee proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Park Police as monuments and memorials are being targeted by mobs and protests continue to occur in the streets in the Washington, D.C. area.
Democrats have proposed a $5 million budget cut to the U.S. Park Police. Democrats have taken issue with how Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and Acting Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan have not given them information about the "aggressive action against peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park on June 1, 2020. The Service is directed to provide this information within 10 days of enactment of this Act. Accompanying bill language reduces USPP funding by $50,000 for each day that this directive is not fulfilled."
The Park Police has seen a lot of action as protests became riots during the recent weeks of unrest the country has experienced in the aftermath of George Floyd's death. The Department of Interior said at least 60 Park officers were injured during the riots in the nation's capital.
In Washington, DC some protesters have exercised their constitutional right to peaceably assemble, while others have engaged in blatant criminal activities. US Park Police and law enforcement officials have endured continued violence. pic.twitter.com/ZyjznZ8VDE— DOI Press Secretary (@DOIPressSec) June 24, 2020
Park Police were instrumental in pushing out a mob of people who attempted to tear down the statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square, which is located across the street from the White House. Park Police have also been protecting the Emancipation Memorial, which features former President Abraham Lincoln, after protesters threatened to tear that statue down.
“It is unsurprising that Chair Betty McCollum and other House Majority members on the Appropriations Committee would support the radical and dangerous notion of defunding the United States Park Police," the Interior Department said in a statement in response to the budget cut proposal.
"During the protests in Washington DC, United States Park Police officers have been violently assaulted and hit with bricks, glass bottles, and other projectiles, while working to quell violent rioters and protect our nation’s monuments from ruin. The Department stands shoulder to shoulder with our brave law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day, so we all can enjoy our God-given freedoms. Chair McCollum and other members of Congress should defend, not defund, our brave men and women in law enforcement," the statement added.