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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

MPD declined GW officials’ request to clear encampment, Washington Post reports

Lexi Critchett | Staff Photographer
A Metropolitan Police Department van

Updated: April 29, 2024, at 3:52 a.m.

Metropolitan Police Department officials rejected requests from GW officials to clear protesters from their encampment in University Yard early Friday morning, the Washington Post reported Friday afternoon.

The Post reported that police had gathered to clear the encampment around 3 a.m., about the same time organizers alarmed encampment attendees that arrests were coming. Around that time Friday morning, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Brian Joyce told The Hatchet he “thinks” MPD officers were on their way.

Senior D.C. officials in the Mayor’s office and MPD reportedly declined GW’s requests to clear the encampment, citing concerns over the “optics” of moving against peaceful protesters, The Post reported.

With protesters saying they will stay in U-Yard until their demands are met and D.C. police reportedly unwilling to remove the group, it’s unclear how long the impasse could last.

Multiple University spokespeople have not returned requests for comment. Hannah Glasgow, an MPD spokesperson, said in an emailed statement that MPD has been supporting the GW Police Department since the start of the demonstrations and that the department does not comment on operational procedures.

MPD had no plans at the time to clear the encampment, The Post reported, but that could change if the protests grow hostile. The protest has remained peaceful throughout the week.

The Post, citing a pair of unnamed D.C. officials, reported that officials wanted to avoid arresting peaceful protesters, which could result in images of altercations between police and demonstrators that have sparked criticism of other police agencies across the country.

Police have arrested protesters in at least 18 campuses in the U.S., according to a New York Times list. Protests at Columbia University grew after New York Police Department officers arrested more than 100 members of an encampment at the university — another encampment quickly popped up. Columbia officials said they don’t plan to call NYPD again, according to the student paper Columbia Daily Spectator.

The New York Times reports that police have arrested more than 800 antiwar protesters in April.

MPD has faced lawsuits for prior crackdowns on protests. Protesters last year sued the department for nonlethal uses of force during 2020 protests against the murder of George Floyd. D.C. was ordered to pay $1.6 million in damages in 2021 after the city settled police misconduct lawsuits stemming from 2017 presidential inauguration protests.

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About the Contributor
Faith Wardwell, Managing Editor
Faith Wardwell, a junior majoring in journalism from Boston, Massachusetts, is the 2024-25 managing editor for The Hatchet.
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