U.S. Marshals have been ordered to prepare to help protect historical monuments as left-wing protesters continue to target statues nationwide, according to an email leaked to the Washington Post.
Marshals Assistant Director Andrew Smith wrote that members have been “asked to immediately prepare to provide federal law enforcement support to protect national monuments (throughout the country).”
“This is a challenging assignment due to the breadth of possible targets for criminal activity,” added Smith.
The Post reports:
[Smith] said the Marshals Incident Management Team would start a Joint Operations Center in Springfield, Va., to coordinate, and every deputy in the Special Operations Group would be made available to help as soon as Thursday. He also asked other districts and divisions to identify people they might be able to lend to the effort until July 8.
It was not immediately clear how many Marshals would be involved in the work, or what, precisely, they would be doing. The assignment is unusual, as Marshals – who come under the Department of Justice – typically work providing security for courthouses, transporting prisoners, apprehending fugitives and protecting witnesses. It was the U.S. Park Police who dispersed the demonstrators around the Jackson statue.
When asked about the report, spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals said, “We don’t confirm or deny any enforcement actions that we might take.”
The Post’s report comes after the Department of Defense activated 400 National Guard troops to protect monuments in Washington, DC, from protesters responsible for vandalizing and tearing down statues.
“Since their activation, none of the National Guard members have been dispatched to actual monument locations to provide assistance to the NPP,” Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Christian Mitchell said in a statement. “They remain on standby at the D.C. Armory at this time. They will support U.S. Park Police at key monuments to prevent any defacing or destruction.”
Mitchell stated that the troops will be unarmed and “will serve as a uniformed deterrence” to offer “crowd control.”
On Monday, D.C. police prevented protesters from toppling a statue of former President Andrew Jackson near the White House.
President Donald Trump has warned that individuals who vandalize monuments could face up to ten years in prison.