scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Tuesday, October 26, 2021

George Floyd’s death: Can Trump send the US military to quell violence at protests?

To deploy the Armed Forces, Trump would need to formally invoke a group of statutes known as the Insurrection Act. What is it?

By: Reuters |
June 2, 2020 2:07:36 pm
Explained: Can Trump send the US military to quell violence at protests? President Donald Trump walks past police in Lafayette Park after visiting outside St. John’s Church across from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo: Patrick Semansky)

US President Donald Trump on Monday suggested he would use federal troops to end unrest that has erupted following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody last week.

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump said during brief remarks at the White House.

The demonstrations have been largely peaceful, but police in some cities have used force against journalists and protesters, and protesters have clashed with police. Many US cities have set curfews.

To deploy the armed forces, Trump would need to formally invoke a group of statutes known as the Insurrection Act.

What is the Insurrection Act?

Under the US Constitution, governors generally have the authority to maintain order within state borders. This principle is reflected in a law called the Posse Comitatus Act, which generally bars the federal military from participating in domestic law enforcement.

The Insurrection Act, which dates to the early 1800s, creates an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act.

It permits the president to send in US forces to suppress a domestic insurrection that has hindered the normal enforcement of US law.

📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@ieexplained) and stay updated with the latest

Explained: Can Trump send the US military to quell violence at protests? Demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd near the White House in Washington on Sunday. (AP Photo)

Can Trump send in troops without a Governor’s approval?

Yes. The law lays out a scenarios in which the president is required to have approval from a state’s governor or legislature, and also instances where such approval is not necessary, said Robert Chesney, a professor of national security law at the University of Texas.

Has it been invoked before?

Yes. The Insurrection Act has been invoked on dozens of occasions through US history. Since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, its use has become “exceedingly rare,” according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

The Insurrection Act was last used in 1992, when the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King led to deadly riots.

Also read | Trump’s church photo-op draws ire as protests continue across US

George Floyd's death: Can Trump send the US military to quell violence at protests? Outcry over George Floyd’s death has gone international, with demonstrators taking to the streets in London and Berlin. (DW Image)

Can a court strike down Trump’s application of the law?

Chesney said a successful legal challenge to Trump’s use of the law was “very unlikely.” Courts have historically been very reluctant to second-guess a president’s military declarations, he said.

“The law, for all practical purposes, leaves this to the president with very little judicial review with any teeth,” Chesney said.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Explained News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement