Sunday’s white civil rights rally and counterprotests cost the District about $2.6 million, according to preliminary estimates released by the office of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
A breakdown of preliminary, estimated charges indicate that nearly all of the costs incurred as a result of the protests — $2.5 million — related to the Metropolitan Police Department.
The D.C. Department of Public Works spent roughly $40,000; D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services spent about $34,000; and the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency spent about $12,000, the mayor’s office said Tuesday.
D.C. will seek reimbursement from the Emergency Planning and Security Fund (EPSF), a federal fund used to compensate for public safety at events related to the city’s status as the nation’s capital, the mayor’s office said.
The federal government reimbursed the District $9.1 million in fiscal 2017 for policing costs through EPSF, and this year Congress budgeted $13 million for the emergency fund, according to The Washington Post.
Sunday’s “Unite the Right 2” rally in Lafayette Square across from the White House was held on the first anniversary of a similar gathering at Charlottesville, Virginia, that erupted into violence between white supremacist rally-goers and anti-racism counterprotesters. One woman was killed when a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters, and two Virginia State Police troopers died when their helicopter monitoring the event crashed.
Charlottesville police and Virginia State Police received widespread criticism over their handling of last year’s event, and a review by a former U.S. attorney said the police forces had not coordinated their efforts or even developed an operational plan.
Last week, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham pledged a “full deployment of officers and resources” during Sunday’s rally in light of last year’s chaos.
D.C. police on Sunday surrounded the white nationalist rally-goers, who numbered about 30, escorted them at Metro stations, along city streets and at Lafayette Square. The white nationalists were vastly outnumbered by thousands of anti-racism counterprotesters.
No one was injured, and only one arrest was reported during the rally.
The city of Charlottesville had refused to let the event’s organizer, Jason Kessler, hold a demonstration on the anniversary of the “Unite the Right,” citing safety and security concerns.
Mr. Kessler, 34, initially sued Charlottesville over the rejection, but he dropped his lawsuit last month after learning that he would be permitted by the National Park Service to hold a “white civil rights” rally on the same date at Lafayette Park directly north of the White House.
His National Park Service permit request said as many as 400 would attend the rally, but only a couple of dozen showed up.
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