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Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House, June 1, 2020 in Washington D.C., during a protest over the killing of George Floyd. (Photo by Jose Luis Magana / AFP via Getty Images)

Whistleblower Report Alleges Military Police Sought Use of a Heat Ray to Disperse Crowd at White House Protest in June

"Our government shouldn't be conspiring to use heat rays against us for exercising our constitutional rights."

Julia Conley

The ACLU once again Wednesday night demanded an independent investigation into the use of force against protesters outside the White House on June 1, after a whistleblower told members of Congress that U.S. military police in Washington, D.C. sought the use of a heat ray to disperse the crowd.

Major Adam DeMarco of the D.C. National Guard told the House Committee on Natural Resources that the provost marshal of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region sought an Active Denial System (ADS) to use at the protest. 

Developed by the military about two decades ago, the ADS uses millimeter wave technology to create a sensation of intense heat on a human target's skin. The device has been used by the military to disperse crowds. According to the Associated Press, Pentagon officials declined to use the technology in the beginning of the Iraq War, believing it "could be misconstrued as a torture machine."

According to DeMarco, who has sought whistleblower protection, the provost marshal told the National Guard that the heat ray could be used to "engage potential adversaries at distances well beyond small arms range."

"The effect is overwhelming, causing an immediate repel response by the targeted individual," the National Guard was told. Officials reportedly told the military police that it had no such weapon.

"Our government shouldn't be conspiring to use heat rays against us for exercising our constitutional rights," the ACLU said in response to the revelations.

The military police sought the use of the ADS a week into nationwide demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd. At the June 1 protest, law enforcement ultimately used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters outside the White House, shortly before President Donald Trump walked through the area to get to a nearby church for a photo-op. 

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