A large contingent of unmarked, unidentified and unmasked federal officers dressed in riot gear, who gathered near the White House on June 6, may have been riot guards from the Bureau of Prisons.
House Democrats told Attorney General William Barr in a letter that the Bureau of Prisons was responsible for sending the unidentifiable officers, whom Barr empowered with the authority to make arrests at the demonstrations, reports the New York Times.
If true, they could have been exposed to COVID-19, which has swept through prisons, according to Florida-based Dr. Dena Grayson:
Carl Takei, a senior staff lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union who focuses on law enforcement, warned about using officers from the Bureau of Prisons, reports the New York Times:
To transport this prison S.W.A.T. team into a position where they’re in a position to manage a protest involving thousands of people, it’s just such a radically different context.
That issue is particularly dangerous, not being able to clearly identify them as being federal agents based on the way that they’re labeled. It’s deeply irresponsible on the part of the superior officer to not tell them to wear identifying insignia.
The Bureau of Prisons refused to comment, and Justice Department officials claimed they were not aware of officers refusing to be identified, even though the officers were in walking distance from the Justice Department building in Washington D.C..