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Military Pilot Grounded After Low-Flying Helicopter Maneuvers Over D.C. Protests

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

Despite according to a prior New York Times report top Pentagon brass initially ordered that National Guard helicopters assist in dispersing protests and riots which overwhelmed streets outside the White House early this week, at least one helicopter pilot has been grounded pending an investigation over low-flying maneuvers.

The Black Hawk helicopter presence created a huge stir among activists nationwide, as footage went viral of the pilots using gusts from the helicopter blades to deter crowds.

The Pentagon had described the “show of force” tactic as a menacing “persistent presence” to dissuade the below throngs amid raging Black Lives Matter protests.

Reporters and demonstrators alleged that in some locations where the swooping maneuver was made store windows were broken by the severe downdraft along with tree limbs, which in at least one case reportedly hurt a bystander when branches struck the person.

Caught on film were US Army UH-72 Lakota helicopters, as well as UH-60 Black Hawks coming within as little as 100 feet over the crowds.

As The Hill describes Saturday:

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters that the helicopter crew was grounded pending results from an internal investigation, according to local CBS affiliate WUSA9. A Pentagon spokesman told the outlet that the move was standard procedure during such investigations.

The aircraft was one of two Army National Guard helicopters that hovered between 100 and 300 feet above the streets of the District on Monday night, according to an aircraft tracker. Gusts from their helicopter blades were aimed at dispersing crowds of protesters.

Military Pilot Grounded After Low-Flying Helicopter Maneuvers Over D.C. Protests

Via The Drive/social media footage stillframes.

And further the D.C. National Guard commander, Maj. Gen. William Walker, had indicated in a prior statement that he’d “directed an immediate investigation into the June 1 incident.”

“I hold all members of the District of Columbia National Guard to the highest of standards,” Walker said. “We live and work in the District, and we are dedicated to the service of our nation.”

No doubt, the pending investigation and grounding of the pilot is largely a political response, given not only the widespread condemnation of military armed forces being utilized for crowd and riot control on American streets, but at a moment the Pentagon and White House are increasingly at odds over the role of soldiers amid the nationwide unrest.

And given the controversy, we’re unlikely to see low-flying helicopters during Saturday’s protest, despite the prediction that they’ll be the biggest yet on the capitol, and potentially most dangerous given the chaos of early this week.

It also suggests a broader trend of lower ranking police officers and soldiers potentially being thrown under the bus when the “orders” from their higher-ups come under media scrutiny.

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Fly higher, they’ll never get a lungfull of CS gas with all that rotor wash!

Jens Holm

Its very visible no helicopter should be in that altude there at all. It only was meant as aatacj on peocefull demonstraters done by Trumps.




once again I find myself utterly baffled. How did that confounded Putin nanage this stunt?

Lazy Gamer

So long as the protests are peaceful and complies with lawful restrictions, the military or police should let them march. BLM movement seems to imply that only blacks are the disproportionate victims of unlawful police procedures. Like other ethnicities dont suffer the same treatment. lol Police brutality applies to all suspects regardless of color. Somebody is just eager to play the race card.

I remember during Obama’s time, the protesters were manhandled from wall street. That was how he ended the protest then. But here, Trump should not make the same mistake. Lawmakers better start drafting and reviewing, Police should start investigations, and attorneys should prosecute.


Awwww,,, pity the innocent rioters and looters. Them got scared! As an ex army crew chief I can tell you those small choppers could not blow out windows. Don’t see any pics of a blackhawk but doubt it could blow out windows a hundred feet down either.

They’re defunding police departments,,, should they defund the Natl Guard as well?

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