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Pentagon Orders Review of National Guard's Protest Response

Demonstrators stand in front of D.C. National Guard and other law law enforcement officers during a peaceful protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, on June 3, 2020, in Washington, DC.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has ordered a report on the National Guard’s response to the civil unrest being experienced across the country.

Numerous demonstrations nationwide were sparked by the death in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of George Floyd. Floyd was in police custody and died after an officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

The Pentagon said in a statement Thursday that the After Action Review of National Guard’s Response to Civil Unrest will evaluate the Guard’s “efforts working with local and federal law enforcement across the country during the last two weeks.”

Esper said in the statement that he had “the greatest respect for and am deeply proud of our Soldiers and Airmen who served during this period to ensure that peaceful protestors could execute their First Amendment rights.”

National Guard units were used in Washington, D.C., to disperse peaceful protesters in front of the White House, a move that has come under wide criticism.

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy will organize and lead the review that is scheduled to be submitted to Esper by July 30.