June 5 (UPI) — The Department of Defense is returning some members of active duty units that had deployed to Washington, D.C., to their home bases, a senior Pentagon official said Thursday.
The official told UPI the return of the remaining active duty service members will be “conditions-based.”
The official did not name the number of troops being removed from the capital, but Stars & Stripes reported that Esper sent about 700 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division back to Fort Bragg, N.C.
Earlier this week, the military deployed 1,600 troops to the nation’s capital to respond to police-brutality protests spurred by the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that it was not yet necessary to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow the federal government to send troops to states in response to protests.
It was Esper’s first public comment on the matter.
Earlier this week U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., demanded the Trump administration and Defense Department officials offer more detail about potential domestic deployments of the military, including a comment from Esper — on a phone call recording that was leaked to The New York Times — that National Guard forces needed to “dominate the battlespace” in cities.
President Donald Trump has said multiple times this week that he would send the military into cities where protests have been punctuated by looting and vandalism as well as deployment of tear gas and flash bangs by police.
The Insurrection Act of 1807 was last used in 1992 as Los Angeles residents rioted after officers who beat Rodney King were acquitted of criminal charges.