The military police officer with jurisdiction over the Washington, D.C., region inquired about whether the D.C. National Guard had access to a military heat ray for use against protesters in June, according to emails obtained by NPR.
Major Adam DeMarco of the D.C. National Guard told the House Committee on Natural Resources that the Provost Marshal of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region copied him on an email, seeking an Active Denial System (ADS).
The ADS is designed to heat human targets using millimeter wave technology, according to NPR. Both its effectiveness and the ethics of using it have been controversial since its development decades ago.
The Provost Marshal’s email stated that the “ADS can provide our troops a capability they currently do not have, the ability to reach out and engage potential adversaries at distances well beyond small arms range, and in a safe, effective, and non-lethal manner.”
The device “provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin. The effect is overwhelming, causing an immediate repel response by the targeted individual,” he added.
The Provost Marshal also requested a long-range acoustic device (LRAD), a sound cannon frequently used to disperse crowds.
Under a 2015 settlement, federal police are required to give large crowds multiple advance warnings to disperse, loudly enough to be heard from blocks away. The LRAD is typically used in such scenarios. The LRAD was not used on June 1, and protesters who were in Lafayette Square said police gave little to no warning.
DeMarco, who has since sought whistleblower protection, responded that “the D.C. National Guard was not in possession of either an LRAD or an ADS.”
The email chain was sent hours before officers deployed tear gas and smoke grenades against protesters in Lafayette Square. After the square was cleared, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn’t think he could’ve done more to stop virus spread Conservative activist Lauren Witzke wins GOP Senate primary in Delaware Trump defends claim coronavirus will disappear, citing ‘herd mentality’ MORE was photographed holding a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The Hill has reached out to Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region for comment.