Grounded! Army Immediately Suspended Helo Crew That Buzzed DC Protesters

A military helicopter flies low pushing a strong vertical down wash of air (rotor wash) onto the crowd during a protest over the death of George Floyd on June 1, 2020. - President Donald Trump vowed Monday to order a... A military helicopter flies low pushing a strong vertical down wash of air (rotor wash) onto the crowd during a protest over the death of George Floyd on June 1, 2020. - President Donald Trump vowed Monday to order a military crackdown on once-in-a-generation violent protests gripping the United States, saying he was sending thousands of troops onto the streets of the capital and threatening to deploy soldiers to states unable to regain control. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
June 5, 2020 4:33 p.m.

The crew of the helicopter that buzzed protestors in D.C. Monday night was grounded immediately after the incident, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said on Friday.

McCarthy announced that a 15-6 investigation was being conducted, which examines violations of Army regulations or standards, according to multiple news outlets covering the Pentagon.

Army investigators will provide an “interim update” of the probe later on Friday, according to a tweet from Politico’s Lara Seligman.

The D.C National Guard UH-72 Lakota helicopter – with a red cross marking – that flew low over protestors in Washington made waves not only through the downwash of its rotor blades but in the shock it provoked among those with military and helicopter experience.

The chopper buzzed protestors from the height of around four stories, causing winds strong enough to fell a tree and send debris careening around downtown D.C. city streets.

Experts in the area told TPM that flying so low was likely a “show of force,” used by the military to project power and instill fear in an adversary. But those with experience in the matter were shocked to see the tactic – made more dangerous by using the downwash from the rotor blades to disperse a peaceful crowd – used in the U.S.

The backstory of who, if anyone, ordered the military helicopter to conduct the maneuver remains unclear. The AP reported on Tuesday that President Trump himself ordered the helicopter to be deployed, while the New York Times wrote that it was “directed by the highest echelons of the Washington National Guard.”

Introducing
The TPM Journalism Fund: A New Way To Support TPM
We're launching the TPM Journalism Fund as an additional way for readers and members to support TPM. Every dollar contributed goes toward:
  • -Hiring More Journalists
  • -Providing free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • -Supporting independent, non-corporate journalism
Are you experiencing financial hardship?
Apply for a free community-supported membership
Comments
advertisement
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer:
SPECIAL DEAL FOR PAST TPM MEMBERS
40% OFF AN ANNUAL PRIME MEMBERSHIP
REJOIN FOR JUST $30