Press Release Jun 4, 2020

Parks Group Demands Answers to Park Police’s Unprovoked and Aggressive Actions Against Peaceful Protesters

We are appalled by this injustice and demand answers on behalf of all the protesters involved, and all Americans.

Washington, DC - Today, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and nearly 80 environmental organizations sent a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and United States Attorney General William Barr demanding answers about the recent actions of the United States Park Police during ongoing protests in Washington, DC. Like protests around the country, those in our nation’s capital are calls for justice for people of color. On Monday, June 1, the expulsion of peaceful protesters from in and near Lafayette Park, a national park unit, was both unprovoked and aggressive. These actions raise numerous questions about the current mission and operating standards of the Park Police, and the public deserves answers.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association:

“The National Parks Conservation Association condemns the unprovoked and unnecessarily aggressive actions of the Park Police in Lafayette Park. We are appalled by this injustice, and together with nearly 80 environmental groups, we demand answers on behalf of all the protesters involved, and all Americans.

“This week peaceful protesters seeking racial justice gathered in Lafayette Park to make their voices heard. They banded together at a national park site to fight for what’s right, just as people have done throughout history, including the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Only this time, people who were legally gathered were tear gassed and fired at with rubber bullets.

“Peaceful protests around the country were turned into horrific events at the hands of police in cities throughout the U.S., and by the Park Police in our nation’s capital. We demand to know why. These protests are part of the very foundation of our democracy. People come to the national parks in our nation’s capital to make their voices be heard. To take this right away is yet another injustice, and one we cannot let stand. We need to do all we can to ensure these continue to be safe spaces for protesters exercising their constitutional rights.

“The Black community deserves better. People of color deserve better. And so do the public and democracy itself.”


About The National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.4 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit