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Dozens of National Guard troops from South Carolina were seen checking out of their Washington, D.C., hotel shortly before President Donald Trump tweeted he was giving the order to withdraw guard forces from the nation’s capital.
The troops sipped coffee from an adjacent Starbucks and smoked cigarettes Sunday morning as they awaited buses to take them to the airport for a flight home.
Trump ordered guard troops into D.C. to “dominate” the streets after some protests over the killing of George Floyd turned violent. The city’s mayor called on Trump last week to withdraw outside forces amid days of largely peaceful protests.
I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C., now that everything is under perfect control. They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed. Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2020
The Los Angeles Times reports that the National Guard is also pulling out of the Los Angeles area, a week after being deployed.
Nationwide anti-racism protests followed the May 25 killing of Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck. Violence followed some peaceful protests which ultimately led to Los Angeles issuing a countywide curfew. As looting and violence increased, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti enlisted help from the National Guard. Gov. Gavin Newsom also declared a state of emergency, resulting in about 1,000 National Guard personnel being deployed.
Amid the ongoing protests, police officer Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck, has been charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers at the scene were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. All four officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department.
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