In response, Trump, Attorney General William P. Barr and the heads of other government departments have worked in concert to deploy a massive show of force in the nation’s capital. A Washington Post analysis of those deployments suggests that at least 16 law enforcement and military agencies have personnel on the ground in the District, with thousands of soldiers, police and agents actively engaged in the effort to maintain order.
Below is a list of the agencies we know have been in the District this week. If you’ve come across other protective or law enforcement agencies in the District, let us know.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF acting director Regina Lombardo said during a news conference Thursday that the agency is helping investigate shootings, arson and bombings in connection with the demonstrations. That work includes running traces on firearms, entering shell casing information into a national database and making arrests.
ATF is tracking more than 840 arsons and more than 70 explosive incidents nationwide, Lombardo said.
Identifiers: ATF agent uniforms identify the agency.
Drug Enforcement Administration. At the same news conference, DEA acting administrator Timothy Shea said Thursday that DEA is providing security to federal buildings in the D.C. area, conducting “threat assessments” and investigating drug crimes, such as the looting of controlled substances from pharmacies. As The Post and others have previously reported, the agency has received special authorization to go outside of its legal mandate to investigate drug-related crimes to also pursue those crimes related to the protests.
Identifiers: DEA agent uniforms identify the agency.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is conducting a civil rights investigation into Floyd’s death and also helping investigate those who commit violence at demonstrations if they commit federal crimes.
Barr said Thursday that the Justice Department had made 51 arrests for federal crimes in connection with civil disturbances. Those charges can include using explosive devices or crossing state lines to riot.
Aircraft including FBI identifiers have also been used to surveil the District.
Identifiers: FBI agent uniforms identify the agency.
U.S. Marshals Service. U.S. Marshals Director Donald W. Washington said Thursday that deputy marshals are helping protect courthouses and other federal properties, and they are helping investigate vandalism of such properties. They are also serving warrants against those accused of inciting violence, Washington said.
Identifiers: While there are no immediately available photos of deployed marshals, past practice suggests that their uniforms will include identifying information.
Bureau of Prisons. BOP Director Michael Carvajal said Thursday that specialized teams that typically respond to crises inside prisons are assisting with “crowd control.” Justice Department officials have said previously that BOP riot teams were dispatched to Washington, D.C., and Miami.
BOP personnel spurred a number of questions this week when several who had been asked for whom they worked declined to offer a specific answer. Carvajal said the lack of identifying information, including names or badge numbers, was because the staff members “normally operate within the confines of our institution and we don’t need to identify ourselves. Most of our identification is institution-specific and probably wouldn’t mean a whole lot to people in D.C.”
At one point on Wednesday, BOP employees wielding “military police” shields were seen in the District, suggesting an association with the National Guard. A Guard spokesman explained that the BOP employees were using shields that had been left in place, which he admitted “led to confusion.”
Identifiers: BOP employees stationed in Washington tend to stand out in part due to the lack of identifying markers. Some have the acronym SORT on their apparel, which stands for “Special Operations and Response Teams.” Others have DCT, short for “Disturbance Control Team.” In many cases, they have short-sleeved blue shirts under black vests.
Department of Homeland Security
Customs and Border Protection. Border Patrol agents have been in the District most of the week.
“Border Patrol Sectors are working with law enforcement partners across our nation to prevent further looting, rioting, arson, vandalism & destruction of property,” acting commissioner Mark Morgan wrote on Twitter about his agency’s mission. “As a federal law enforcement agency, it’s our duty & responsibility to respond when our partners request support.”
Identifiers: Border Patrol agent uniforms, which are generally forest green, identify the agency.
Federal Protective Service. It’s not clear how many FPS personnel have been deployed, though they’ve been seen at barricades in the city.
Identifiers: The uniforms of FPS officers identify them as Homeland Security police.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In a tweet, acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf identified ICE agents as part of the more than 600 personnel from his department who had been dispatched to the capital.
ICE agents would not be enforcing immigration laws at protests, officials told Axios, but can enforce federal law more broadly.
Identifiers: While there are no immediately available photos of deployed ICE personnel, past practice suggests that their uniforms will include identifying information. At times, ICE officers wear military-style camouflage.
United States Secret Service. The Secret Service’s uniformed officers are normally responsible for protecting the White House. The agency has 1,300 uniformed employees, though not all are regularly deployed at or in the White House complex.
Identifiers: Uniformed Secret Service agents will wear uniforms identifying them as such. Secret Service agents not in uniform will probably be generally identifiable by most District residents — or those who’ve seen a movie or two. Think earpiece and suit.
Transportation Security Administration. Personnel with the TSA have been deployed in an unknown capacity to aid with enforcement in the District.
Identifiers: While there are no immediately available photos of deployed TSA personnel, past practice suggests that their uniforms will include identifying information. TSA uniforms are generally blue.
National Guard. A release from the National Guard on Thursday indicated that soldiers and airmen from 10 states were supporting the D.C. National Guard this week. That included personnel from Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah. The D.C. contingent numbers 1,200, with an additional 3,300 personnel from those 10 states.
Members of the National Guard, who serve under the joint control of the federal and state governments, don’t enforce laws but instead act as protective or supportive supplements to civil law enforcement.
National Guard helicopters have also been identified over the District, including one instance in which a low-flying helicopter was used in an apparent effort to disrupt a protest.
Identifiers: National Guard members are often uniformed in camouflage, as above. On Thursday, the Guard clarified that soldiers stationed in the District the prior night were not Army as assumed given various insignia but, instead, Guard soldiers. A contingent from Utah who are part of the 19th Special Forces Group were deployed to quickly support the efforts in Washington.
Pentagon Force Protection Agency. Pentagon Force Protection personnel are normally assigned to protect the Pentagon. Reporters from CNN have identified them as having been in Washington.
Identifiers: The standard PFPA uniform identifies the wearer as police.
U.S. Army. Jonathan Rath Hoffman, a spokesman for the Defense Department, announced earlier this week that military police from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York, constituting 1,600 troops, would be moved to the D.C. region. None have been deployed in the District as of writing.
Identifiers: Army personnel wear standard-issue uniforms, including Army indicia. The Post’s Alex Horton has a quick guide to differentiating between Army and National Guard soldiers.
U.S. Park Police (Interior Department). Park Police are responsible for managing a number of facilities in the District, including Lafayette Square, where protesters were forcibly removed on Monday.
In a statement released on Tuesday, acting chief Gregory T. Monahan said that 51 members of the Park Police had been injured over the weekend while responding to protests on the Mall and in the square. The agency has 600 personnel in total.
Park Police helicopters have also been deployed over the city.
Identifiers: Park Police uniforms identify the agency, as do riot shields when deployed.
Metropolitan Police Department (District of Columbia). District residents will be familiar with D.C. police.
Identifiers: District police uniforms include identification of the department and the officer.
U.S. Capitol Police (Congress). The Capitol’s protective service has had a more limited role in handling the protests of the past week, given their geographically centralized area of responsibility. There have been sporadic protests on and near Capitol Hill involving the agency.
Identifiers: Capitol Police uniforms identify the department.
Alex Horton and Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.
An incorrect report about the deployment of active duty Army soldiers has been corrected.