A one-man gardening crew who has spent the past week cleaning up parks and memorials during the US Government shutdown claims he was ordered to leave Washington's Lincoln Memorial by a "bully" police officer.
Chris Cox, who carves wooden sculptures for a living, told the MailOnline that the US Park Police officer was aggressive and told him to "get your stuff and get out of here".
Mr Cox turned gardening guru because the US Government shutdown meant parks and national memorials were not being cleaned.
He was determined to have everything ship shape and in good order for the weekend ahead of a planned Million Vet March which is expected to lure thousands of retired servicemen and women to Washington.
Mr Cox urged all Americans to take his lead, and to find a memorial and ensure it is clean and tidy.
Mr Cox's grandfather served in the Marine Corps, his roommate was awarded multiple purple heart citations, and his stepfather is a 1959 West Point graduate.
"In my mind, that entitled me to pick up as much trash as I wanted to," Mr Cox told MailOnline.
He said several park police officers were aware of his work and allowed him to continue. But then one ordered him to leave.
"I had a great experience there for the most part," he said, and that the police "knew who I was by the second day – they had my social security number somehow. And they all welcomed me. Nobody said anything to me for the next 6 or 7 days. I thought they were on my side because they saw what I did for them.
"Then this one cop, a big ... guy, he had me scared. I don't get intimidated easily. I mean, I had a chain saw. But he was being a bully."
He said he told the officer that it broke his heart to see newspaper photos showing the Mall in disrepair after the shutdown began.
As part of Mr Cox's clean-up he emptied hundreds of overflowing bins.
"The trash cans were overflowing. I emptied hundreds of trash cans on the Mall. I grabbed a leaf blower and blew the leaves off the lawn near the memorials. Today I showed up and a giant tree had fallen over. I took my chain saw and cut it up and hauled it away," he told the MailOnline.
Park Police public information officer Sergeant Paul Brooks said Mr Cox wasn't arrested. "He was asked to leave, and he complied," Sgt Brooks said.
Mr Cox claimed police later said it was because he had a can of fuel.
Earlier in the week a man died after setting himself alight on the National Mall.