George Floyd death:Trump mulls to invoke Insurrection Act
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is considering invoking a 213-year-old federal law that would allow him to deploy active-duty U.S. troops to respond to protests in cities across the country, according to four people familiar with the internal White House discussions.
He said if cities and states failed to control the protests and “defend their residents” he would deploy the army and “quickly solve the problem for them”.
Protests over the death of George Floyd have escalated over the past week.
Four police meanwhile were shot and injured on Monday night during unrest in St Louis, Missouri.
Police chief Colonel John Hayden Junior told reporters “some coward fired shots at officers and now we have four in hospital. Thank God they’re alive,” before becoming overcome with emotion.
Meanwhile, dozens of major cities have imposed overnight curfews.
In New York, the iconic department store Macy’s was broken into and a Nike store was looted, while other shop fronts and bank windows were smashed. Several people were arrested.
Governors often prefer the National Guard forces in these cases because they can legally perform law enforcement duties in the U.S., whereas troops on active duty cannot or they violate the Posse Comitatus Act.
But, the president could invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty troops without a request from a state. Those troops would be allowed to conduct law enforcement missions. To invoke the act, Trump would first have to issue a proclamation to “immediately order the insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably to their abodes within a limited time,” according to the law.
In the past the Justice Department has drafted such proclamations. And according to the Congressional Research Service, the Act has been invoked many times throughout U.S. history although rarely since the 1960’s Civil Rights Era. The Insurrection Act was last invoked in 1992, for instance, during the Los Angeles riots after the brutal police beating of Rodney King. In that instance, however, the move was requested by then-California Gov. Pete Wilson, not invoked solely by the president.
The Pentagon declined to comment on the possibility that the president could invoke the Act.