(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Donald Beyer (D-VA) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today led more than 120 House Members in demanding answers from Attorney General William Barr about Department of Justice (DOJ)’s deployment of unidentifiable law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C. amid the Black Lives Matter and Justice for George Floyd protests. The lawmakers sent the letter amid reports that Barr deployed DOJ law enforcement officers, including personnel from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), to police protesters in Washington, D.C. without carrying identifying name plates, official insignia, or agency markings of any kind on their uniforms, which undermines public safety, trust, and peace.
The Members are seeking answers about this decision and demanding that Barr immediately order the restoration of identifying information to the uniforms of all DOJ personnel deployed within Washington, D.C.
The Members wrote: “The public must know in all cases whether individuals purporting to enforce the law by detaining citizens or using force against them are actually authorized to do so—and by whom. This is critical to police accountability to the people. How can our constituents complain about abusive conduct on the part of your officers if they cannot even identify them or which agency they work for? Anonymity for armed federal agents thus confers on them a cloak of immunity, impunity and omnipotence.”
The Members continued: “Over the last week, you defied the Constitutional rights of the people. It appears now that under your directive and leadership, the DOJ has formed an army of unidentifiable and unaccountable law enforcement personnel to dominate Washington, D.C. This is an invitation to further chaos, confusion, discord and violence.”
In addition to Reps. Raskin, Beyer, and Norton, the letter is also signed by the following Members: Donald M. Payne, Jr.; Joaquin Castro; Frederica S Wilson; Tom Malinowski; Grace F. Napolitano; Suzanne Bonamici; Jim Cooper; Jared Huffman; Bobby L. Rush; Jimmy Panetta; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Carolyn B. Maloney; Gerald E. Connolly; Marcia L. Fudge; Frank Pallone, Jr.; Wm. Lacy Clay; Anthony G. Brown; Madeleine Dean; Joyce Beatty; Katherine Clark; Diana DeGette; Bill Pascrell, Jr.; Donna E. Shalala; Ted W. Lieu; Mark Pocan; Mike Quigley; Rashida Tlaib; Jan Schakowsky; Chellie Pingree; Jesús G. “Chuy” García; Alan Lowenthal; David N. Cicilline; Norma J. Torres; James P. McGovern; Ro Khanna; Mary Gay Scanlon; Bill Foster; Brendan F. Boyle; Darren Soto; Raúl M. Grijalva; Jackie Speier; Jason Crow; Filemon Vela; Ruben Gallego; Pramila Jayapal; David E. Price; Steve Cohen; Al Green; Kathleen M. Rice; John Yarmuth; Zoe Lofgren; Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr.; Bonnie Watson Coleman; Adriano Espaillat; Nydia M. Velázquez; Barbara Lee; Danny K. Davis; Cedric L. Richmond; Mikie Sherrill; Peter Welch; Jahana Hayes; Ayanna Pressley; Stephen F. Lynch; Brad Sherman; Mike Doyle; Lizzie Fletcher; Veronica Escobar; Sean Patrick Maloney; Grace Meng; Jennifer Wexton; Karen Bass; Eliot L. Engel; Ed Perlmutter; Mark Takano; Anna G. Eshoo; Abigail D. Spanberger; Albio Sires; J. Luis Correa; Joe Neguse; A. Donald McEachin; Jimmy Gomez; Thomas R. Suozzi; John P. Sarbanes; Kathy Castor; John Garamendi; Terri A. Sewell; Adam Smith; Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.; Jerry McNerney; Matt Cartwright; Deb Haaland; Dina Titus; Mike Thompson; G. K. Butterfield; Hakeem Jeffries; Alma S. Adams, Ph.D.’ Peter A. DeFazio; Dwight Evans; Brian Higgins; José E. Serrano; Denny Heck; William R. Keating; Sylvia R. Garcia; Betty McCollum; Nanette Diaz Barragán; Andy Levin; Debbie Mucarsel-Powell; Alcee L. Hastings; Julia Brownley; Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Paul Tonko; Jim Himes; Lisa Blunt Rochester; Judy Chu; Linda T. Sánchez; Gregory W. Meeks; Andy Kim; Raja Krishnamoorthi; John Lewis; Suzan DelBene; Doris Matsui; Joseph P. Kennedy, III; Rick Larsen; and Tim Ryan.
A copy of the letter is available here.