Daily Beast: Earlier this week, shocking footage showed a medical helicopter hovering dangerously close to protesters in Washington, D.C. in a maneuver that aviators described as a “show of force.”
From the Guardian:
At his press briefing, defense secretary Mark Esper also said he had asked the army secretary, Ryan McCarthy, to launch an inquiry into a National Guard medevac helicopter that was filmed hovering low over protesters in Washington, in an apparent effort to disperse them by intimidation and the strong wind from its rotor.
Esper said it was only confirmed it was a National Guard helicopter on Tuesday and that he ordered the inquiry within an hour of learning about it.
“I want to make sure I understand why,” Esper said. “What happened? Who was involved? What orders were they given or not given? Was there a safety issue involved with an aircraft. hovering that low? So there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered.”
Esper refused to be drawn in to making an initial assessment but he did offer an alternative to the general view that the helicopter was using for intimidation.
“I got a report back that they were asked by law enforcement to look at a checkpoint, a National Guard checkpoint, to see if there were protesters around, so there’s conflicting reports,” Esper said.
He did not explain why a helicopter would be needed to spot protesters when the streets were full of law enforcement officers from various agencies, nor why a helicopter would have to hover so low to confirm the presence of protesters on the street.
Use of medical helicopter to target protesters is under investigation, National Guard says https://t.co/34cUG1lXDu
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 3, 2020
On Tuesday, Major Gen. William J. Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, announced that he’s opened an investigation into the incident. According to DCist, Walker’s office said he has “directed an investigation into a June 1 low-flying maneuver conducted by one of our rotary aviation assets.”
— Paul (@paulio231) June 3, 2020
The investigation will focus on the medical evacuation helicopter which was filmed hovering above protesters—a Black Hawk helicopter was also spotted performing a similar maneuver. Military justice experts condemned the use of the medical helicopter. “This was a foolish move,” Geoffrey Corn, a former Army lawyer told The Washington Post. “The symbolic significance of the Red Cross is pervasive: It denotes a ‘noncombatant’ function of the armed forces.”
— Daniella Cheslow (@Dacheslow) June 2, 2020
1️⃣3️⃣3️⃣ Los Angeles, CA: black store owners call the police to get help with looters
So the police arrest the black store owners who asked for help
(The police do not exist to serve and protect you. They exist to maintain our caste system.)
— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 2, 2020