U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli complained on Monday that Washington, D.C. police were lending “passive support” to climate change protesters marching on the city’s streets.
Cuccinelli tweeted a blurry photo of some of the Shut Down D.C. protesters and accused them of being against “capitalism and freedom.”
“I would also note, that the police seem to be helping them more than anything…” he tweeted.
“Can you imagine any protest about any issue that is right of center where the police in Washington DC would just let you stop up traffic all over the city?” the USCIS chief continued. “Yeah, neither can I. This looks like a form of passive support by the police.”
Can you imagine any protest about any issue that is right of center where the police in Washington DC would just let you stop up traffic all over the city? Yeah, neither can I. This looks like a form of passive support by the police
— USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli (@USCISCuccinelli) September 23, 2019
Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Alaina Gertz pushed back against Cuccinelli’s characterization of the officers at the protest.
“All demonstration participants are allowed to peacefully exercise their First Amendment Right, as long as no crime is being committed,” Gertz told TPM in an email. “MPD’s Special Operations Division is equipped to handle First Amendment assemblies of any stature and has been responding as necessary to ensure the safety of the protestors and the general public.”
And despite Cuccinelli’s accusations, the D.C. Metropolitan police reportedly arrested at least 26 protesters.
Requests for comment from the USCIS office were not immediately returned.