Norton Says Army Report on Use of D.C. National Guard Helicopters Against D.C. Residents Latest Reason D.C. Should Have Control Over D.C. National Guard

Apr 16, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that the report released this week by the Army finding that the District of Columbia National Guard had a “lack of understanding” about the “employment and command” of the helicopters used to disperse protesters in the District last June after the death of George Floyd is the latest evidence that the District needs control over the D.C. National Guard.

Last summer, during protests over the police killing of Floyd, the D.C. National Guard hovered helicopters low over D.C. protesters near Capitol One Arena, causing glass to shatter and loud noise, and spraying protesters with rotor wash. D.C. National Guard members were also used in the forcible removal of peaceful protesters outside the White House at Lafayette Square. D.C. had no authority to deploy the D.C. National Guard to respond to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“This new report from the Army demonstrates yet again why the District needs statehood, but, until then, we at least need to have control over our own National Guard,” Norton said. “The president, no matter who he or she is, should not have control over the D.C. Guard, in the same way the president does not have control over the Guards of the states or territories.”

Norton has reintroduced the District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 657), which would give the D.C. mayor the same authority that the governors of states and territories have over their Guards. Currently, the president controls the D.C. National Guard. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) reintroduced the bill (S. 130) in the Senate.

Norton is also requesting a briefing from the Army and the D.C. National Guard on the report.