The District will be under a curfew between 11 p.m. Wednesday, June 3 and 6 a.m. Thursday, June 4. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) made the announcement at a press conference Wednesday morning.
Bowser said she could not comment on a curfew for Thursday or Friday, saying that the decision to set a curfew is taken ‘very seriously’ and is based on situational needs
Curfews were imposed for 7 p.m. on the previous three evenings, starting on Sunday evening. Speaking at the conference, Bowser and Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said that the later curfew Wednesday was possible because protesters were largely peaceful.
“The largest group of protesters we’ve seen to this point have been doing a little bit of self-policing,” Newsham said, noting an incident where someone pulled a street sign down and was chastised by the crowd. “I think that the behavior of the protesters suggests that we should push the curfew back,” he said. “We anticipate peaceful protest.”
However, Newsham added that the curfew was imposed out of an abundance of caution, noting that most of what he called ‘bad behavior’ took place after dark.
19 people were arrested Saturday, 92 on Sunday, 288 on Monday, and 19 on Tuesday night. The arrests Tuesday night we largely of individuals for disobeying curfew, Newsham said, accounting for 63 percent of arrests overall. 41 percent of those arrested were either from DC or had ‘some association’ with the District, with residents from Maryland and Virginia compiling another 49 percent together.
Wednesday Protests ‘Noticably Different’
More than 5,000 people protested peacefully in DC Wednesday night, the Chief said. “They were obviously noticably different than the ones we had seen in prior days,” Newsham said of protests Wednesday.
Groups assembled safely throughout the day at the Lincoln Memorial, 14th and U Streets NW as well as at Lafayette Park, consistently a rallying point. As the day turned to evening, a large group remained at Lafayette Park and smaller groups marched throughout the city, Newsham said. The groups stayed largely in the Northwest quadrant, Newsham said, gathering peacefully at Lafayette Park later in the night.
While Newsham acknowledged that Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers were present in the District, he said it was not at MPD request. Bowser said that the only federal assets requested by the District at this point were 100 unarmed members of the DC National Guard, and those are the only federal officers receiving direction from the District, she said.
Bowser said that the federal justification for sending enforcement such as CBP was ‘being stretched’. “There has to be a determination of the federal purposes that are being served,” she said, adding that right now the District is currently doing a legal examination of that question.
Bowser said that city officials are comfortable with agencies that they regularly work with, such as the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), but could not comment on other federal agencies.
“The thing for us all to be concerned about is who is giving the orders,” the Mayor said.