Darrell Issa plans hearing on Occupy D.C.’s risk to public safety

A panel of the House committee chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) plans to hold a hearing next week to probe public health and public safety concerns at the McPherson Square encampment of the Occupy D.C. movement.


Viola McKenna, 4, whose family is part of the Occupy D.C. movement, apologizes to Frosty, a homeless man, after Viola ran into Frosty with her tricycle where protesters and homeless mingle in McPherson Square. (Jahi Chikwendiu/WASHINGTON POST)

The committee’s Republican staff said the hearing would focus on decisions made by the Park Service that continue to allow protesters to occupy the downtown Washington park despite conflicting interpretations of the legality of the protests.

Unlike protests in other cities that occurred on city- or state-owned land, D.C. protests are on federally-owned property at McPherson Square — in the heart of Washington’s K St. corridor — and Freedom Plaza, just blocks from the White House.


Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) (BLOOMBERG)

The committee’s inquiry come as protesters continue camping at the downtown Washington site, despite a burgeoning rodent population and an incident last week where a protester left an infant abandoned in a tent.

The hearing’s formal announcement also came on the same day as Occupy Congress, a daylong protest on Capitol Hill organized by members of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Further reading:

Occupy Congress: Protesters gathering outside Capitol (live updates)

Issa seeks answers on Occupy D.C. from Park Service

For more, visit PostPolitics and The Fed Page.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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