CBP Deploys Border Officers to Washington, D.C. Citing 'Acts Of Domestic Terrorism' Amid George Floyd Protests

U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel are being deployed across the country in response to protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.

In a statement published on Twitter, Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said the agency deployed personnel to the National Capital Region, the metropolitan area centered on Washington, D.C.

Morgan said the deployment had been ordered to "assist law enforcement partners" with responding to protests, which he claimed had "devolved into chaos [and] acts of domestic terrorism by groups of radicals [and] agitators."

In a statement sent to Newsweek, CBP spokesperson Stephanie Malin said the D.C. deployments were part of a wider initiative, seeing personnel deployed "across the country at the request of our federal, state and local partners confronting the lawless actions of rioters."

"CBP carries out its mission nationwide, not just at the border, consistent with federal laws and policies," she said.

The CBP spokesperson said the agency already has "resources deployed in several states undertaking various operational support roles at the request of our fellow law enforcement agencies."

Asked where personnel were being deployed and what roles they would be performing, Malin said it would "not be appropriate to disclose law enforcement operational specifics" as doing so "could jeopardize operation security."

However, Morgan had tweeted out earlier that CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) units were providing "situational awareness" in the D.C. area, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, El Paso, Miami and San Diego.

He also said that units would be helping to secure national monuments and memorials across D.C., adding that: "Last night, some of them were defaced by rioters."

"We're working hard to prevent it from happening again, and we're proud to protect them," Morgan said.

"As always, CBP is on the front lines whenever federal, state and local law enforcement partners request our assistance," Malin said in her statement.

"This deployment is about supporting the efforts of our federal, state and local partners, not about carrying out CBP's immigration enforcement mission," she sought to clarify, adding: "This is about the preservation of life and safety."

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump appeared to suggest that there had been "no problems" in the D.C. area on Monday night, despite reports of police officers using tear gas and flash grenades to force protesters to clear out of the White House area so the president could visit the nearby St. John's Church, where there had been a fire on Sunday, for an apparent photo opportunity.

The president tweeted: "D.C. had no problems last night. Many arrests. Great job done by all. Overwhelming force. Domination. Likewise, Minneapolis was great (thank you President Trump!).

Newsweek has contacted CBP for more information on the deployment.

CBP
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), pilot flies a helicopter patrol on March 15, 2017 in McAllen, Texas. CBP's Air and Marine Operations units have been deployed in response to protests over the death of George Floyd. John Moore/Getty