The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) placed orders to purchase over $100,000 worth of tear gas canisters and tear gas grenades in preparation for a possible “civil disturbance” that might occur in the wake of November’s presidential election, according to a WUSA9 report.
The report is attributed to information obtained by American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop through a DC public records request.
The purchase is being made from Atlantic Tactical, a supplier of public safety equipment and law enforcement uniforms, according to WUSA9’s research based on records with DC’s Office of Contracts and Procurement.
The news outlet also confirmed the purchase with MPD via verbal and written statements.
The order was reportedly placed June 1, following two nights of protests near the White House, when DC police realized they were running low on rubber ball grenades, high-impact sponge rounds, long-range tear-gas projectiles, and pepper spray that they used to disperse protesters around Lafayette Square Park.
Following Wednesday’s revelation, DC police released a statement, saying “The June purchase reflects both the increased occurrence of rioting so far this year as well as general preparations for possible civil disturbance for the rest of the year. The Department is committed to working to safeguard the city during riots by having available to officers less-lethal tools to deploy to disperse rioters.”
On Thursday, October 15, DC Police Chief Peter Newsham faced questioning from DC councilmembers regarding the issue.
The purchase was in preparation for post-election protests and possible riots, according to Newsham, who explained to the Council that authorities expect civil unrest after the presidential election “regardless of who wins.”
“Now is not the time to restrict the police department’s ability to effectively deal with illegal rioting,” he added.