Chief Newsham calls claims of violence made by a supporter of protests Rahul Dubey, “very disturbing,’” and promises a “very thorough review’” by MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau. Ava DeSantis writes on the disconnect between the accounts of activists and the Metropolitan Police Department.
Monday night on Swann St., in Washington D.C., Rahul Dubey opened his home to protestors in the ongoing actions in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. Dubey described police violence towards the peaceful protestors outside his home, telling WJLA“There was a big bang and there was a spray that my eyes started burning, screaming like I’ve never heard before, and I’ve described it as a ‘human tsunami’ is the best I could see for about a quarter of a block coming down the street.”
Dubey told NBC Washington he was also pepper-sprayed by the Metropolitan Police Department officers, and the protestors he assisted were “decimated and beaten on the steps of my house.”
The protestors he helped, described a similar scene. Danielle Misiak, a protestor and nearby resident, described MPD forces “pushing the protestors and then pepper-spraying them,” saying “I got pushed down, and somebody just kind of picked me up, and we just heard ‘Go, go go!’ and somebody was just, like, corralling us to Rahul’s house.” Meka, another protestor, said MPDwas “pushing us, spraying mace, trampling people.”
A third protestor confirmed, “[MPD] charged all the way up into this man’s door and maced everybody coming into this house.”
Newsham claims no evidence of excessive force
Today, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser held a press conference at which Chief Newsham spoke about Dubey’s allegations of excessive force. The MPD Police Chief recounted hearing Dubey’s claims on Channel 4 and MSNBC. Newsham called the allegations “very disturbing.”
Newsham said his District Commander had “multiple conversations with the person Mr. Dubey, who identified himself as the homeowner, not face to face, but through the window.”
Newsham said of the allegations “I don’t have any evidence, at this point, to corroborate the allegations that anybody was decimated and beaten,” but promised to have MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau do a “very thorough review to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.” Newsham did not address any of the claims made publicly by the protestors Dubey sheltered which were consistent with Dubey’s story.
Newsham believes his police department showed “judgment and restraint” by not going into Dubey’s home to arrest non-violent offenders, saying “for the police not to enter that home and exacerbate that situation…it’s something that we will look back on and be proud of our agency for doing.” Newsham’s remarks today highlight the ongoing disconnect between activist and police accounts of excessive force and other misconduct.