Nazi flag seized after truck crashes into security barriers near White House
US police have recovered a Nazi flag after a truck smashed into security barriers near the White House in Washington.
The driver was arrested after the removals truck crashed into barriers at Lafayette Square. According to NBC News, he made threatening statements about the White House at the scene.
“I don’t think there’s any place for a Nazi flag or the statements that he made,” an official said.
Anthony Guglielmi, chief of communications for the US Secret Service, said on Twitter: “There were no injuries to any Secret Service or White House personnel, and the cause and manner of the crash remain under investigation,”
“Preliminary investigation reveals the driver may have intentionally struck the security barriers at Lafayette Square.”
US Park Police would file charges with investigative support from the Secret Service, he added.
An eyewitness said investigators found a Nazi swastika flag that apparently came from inside the truck. A photo from the scene appeared to show the flag laid out on the pavement beside the vehicle.
WUSA television showed footage of a U-Haul truck stopped alongside a row of steel bollards, with uniformed law enforcement officers and a dog approaching the vehicle.
A remote-controlled robot pried open the truck‘s rear door, revealing a dolly but no other obvious cargo.
Chris Zaboji, who witnessed the crash, posted a brief video on social media showing the truck driving into the barricades. After crashing once, the driver hit the barriers a second time, he said.
Mr Zaboji, 25, an airline pilot who lives in Washington, said he had just finished jogging on the National Mall and was walking home when he heard a loud crash.
“I looked back and saw that the U-Haul van had rammed into the barricade,” he said. “I backed away behind a guy on a golf cart and took the video on my phone. After I saw it rammed again I didn’t want to be anywhere near the truck and left.”
A previous tweet from the Secret Service’s Mr Guglielmi said nobody from the White House or Secret Service was injured.
The exact location of President Joe Biden at the time was unclear. He met with Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy at the White House earlier on Monday evening.
The nearby Hay Adams hotel was evacuated at the request of the Secret Service, the Washington Post reported, citing a hotel official, while the Secret Service said some roads and pedestrian walkways around the park were closed.
A spokesperson for the Washington Fire Department said a call came in at 9.40pm local time, for what was described as a suspicious package investigation.
Following the major emergency response, investigators determined the contents of the mostly empty truck were harmless.