Army prepares to approve DC application for National Guard ahead of Derek Chauvin trial verdict

The move comes amid nationwide tensions following recent police killings of Americans of color and as cities brace for more protests and possible riots as Chauvin’s trial in the death of George Floyd draws closer to his end. DC officials told reporters Monday that they requested assistance from the National Guard to help secure the District and that Acting Secretary of the Army John Whitley will meet with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday afternoon. about the pending application, an administration official told CNN.

The final number of guard forces to be approved is expected to be set on Monday when Whitley meets with Bowser. If an agreement is reached, the initial deployment may be a “couple of hundred” forces. The official emphasized that the final details of a deployment are still being discussed.

“The Army is reviewing a request from the Washington, DC city government for the District of Columbia National Guard to provide support to the Metropolitan Police Department during the upcoming early First Amendment rallies,” an Army official told CNN. . The official noted that the precise wording of the formally approved statement does not refer to Chauvin’s trial, but said that is what the statement refers to.

The Pentagon later acknowledged the National Guard’s request for assistance on Monday, and Pentagon chief spokesman John Kirby said “there is a request that the Army is looking into at this time,” but declined to provide additional details.

Under the laws governing the DC National Guard, the President retains the authority to deploy the Guard. Currently, that authority is vested in the Army.

The request was made in a letter on April 8 from the DC Director of Homeland Security, Dr. Christopher Rodriguez, to the commander of the DC National Guard, Major General William Walker. He did not indicate how many members of the National Guard were being requested in total, but said that most of them will be divided into six “crowd management teams” at various subway stations and others “to assist at thirty designated traffic posts.” .

“The mission of the DCNG during this activation will be mainly crowd management, the ‘Rapid Response Force’ (QRF) and helping to block vehicles at traffic posts,” Rodríguez writes. The QRF would be organized in the DC armory “with the ability to respond within thirty minutes to a request for assistance.”

Rodriguez on Monday called the request “cautionary” and said they have asked the National Guard to support the DC Metropolitan Police Department with traffic management and security at downtown public transportation stations, as well as a force of quick reaction of guards to be deployed in the center. “large-scale protests” event. He said that if the request is approved, the assistant guards will not be armed, noting that only the president can approve the arming of the DC National Guard.

This story was updated with additional details on Monday.

CNN’s Chandelis Duster, Michael Conte, and Alex Marquardt contributed to this report.


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