Ranking Member Grijalva Statement on Interior’s New Recommendations for U.S. Park Police and Other DOI Law Enforcement

Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today issued the following statement on the release of a new report from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) outlining 12 recommendations and aspirations for improving law enforcement practices among the U.S. Park Police (USPP) and other law enforcement units. The report was issued by DOI’s Law Enforcement Task Force, which was established in 2021.

“This report was triggered by multiple incidents of excessive—even fatal—uses of force. Yet, the report fails to lay out any serious, specific commitments to officer accountability or protections for civil rights. These are the primary issues that have degraded our trust in law enforcement across the board. I appreciate the Department’s vision for building community trust and supporting officer wellness, but I expect to see a more concrete, specific plan for enforcing accountability and protecting the rights of those who have been disproportionately policed and harmed at the hands of law enforcement in the Task Force’s future activities.”


DOI’s Law Enforcement Task Force was established in response to an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report detailing the USPP’s use of excessive force in the violent, sudden clearing of protestors from Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020, moments before then-President Trump walked to St. John’s Church for a photo op with a Bible. As later determined by the nonpartisan U.S. Government of Accountability Office, the USPP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which is analogous to a police department’s internal affairs division, had only referred one of the 54 individual incidents of police force reported between May 26, 2020, and June 15, 2020 to the OIG for investigation. The OIG confirmed that incident involved excessive force

Ranking Member Grijalva and Committee minority staff released a subsequent report on the incident entitled, Bible Beating: The Trump Administration’s Violent Crackdown on Peaceful Protestors in Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020. The report detailed the USPP’s aggressive actions that day and concluded that the Trump administration’s stated justifications for the violent, sudden clearing operation were not credible, among other important findings. 

Ranking Member Grijalva has been a strong proponent of consistent Department-wide law enforcement policies requiring body worn cameras and other transparency and accountability measures. In 2017, USPP officers shot and killed 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar on George Washington Parkway in Virginia after a high-speed car chase. The incident was only captured on video by a Fairfax County Police Department’s vehicle dashboard camera. The Ghaisar family was recently awarded a $5 million settlement from the U.S. government in its wrongful death lawsuit.

Under the leadership of then-Chair Grijalva, the Committee held a Sept. 20 hearing on the need for consistent police camera policies within DOI’s law enforcement, featuring testimony from Bijan Ghaisar’s mother. In February 2021, the USPP announced that its officers will be required to use body worn cameras.

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