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Police Say Pepper Balls Used to Clear Protesters For Trump Walk

  • Park police denied using tear gas in Monday evening action
  • Witnesses reported demonstrators were peaceful before action
Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators next to St. John's Episcopal Church outside of the White House on June 1, 2020.

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators next to St. John's Episcopal Church outside of the White House on June 1, 2020.

Photographer: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Updated on

The U.S. Park Police acknowledged that its officers used smoke and irritating pepper agents to clear protesters outside the White House on Monday before President Donald Trump walked to a historic church that was damaged by arson.

The police agency denied in a statement on Tuesday that it used “tear gas” to disperse the protesters, who it claimed -- in contradiction to news coverage of the event -- had attacked its officers. “Tear gas” is a colloquial term used to describe a variety of irritating crowd-control agents, including pepper spray.