Extra patrols are outside of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago as a “precautionary measure” in light of nationwide unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
PALM BEACH — Days of protests outside the White House over George Floyd’s death have prompted additional security measures outside Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s “Winter White House” in Palm Beach, say local law enforcement authorities.
On Sunday afternoon, more than a dozen marked and unmarked law enforcement vehicles could be seen on the west side of the Southern Boulevard Bridge, in front of Mar-a-Lago and in the blocks north of Trump’s property.
The extra patrols, with officers from the Palm Beach Police Department, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Secret Service, are a “precautionary measure” in light of nationwide unrest stemming from Floyd’s death Monday as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck, said Palm Beach police spokesperson Michael Ogrodnick.
He wouldn’t discuss the specifics of the extra security measures but said he hadn’t heard of any safety concerns so far outside Trump’s property.
Throughout Trump’s presidency Mar-a-Lago has been a rallying place for numerous demonstrations, some calling for for his impeachment and others, like this month’s “Trumptilla,” a flotilla of boats that made their way down the intracoastal to Mar-a-Lago and back, praising the president’s work.
Though hundreds have gathered this weekend for peaceful protests in Palm Beach County, some just across from Palm Beach, none have crossed over the bridge to the island.
Security in reaction to clashes outside the White House
Meanwhile, protesters clashed Saturday with police outside the White House and throughout the nation's capital.
Even as they halted traffic on the Capital Beltway and shouted obscenities at a fleet of presidential helicopters that carried Trump back to the White House on Saturday, the demonstrations scattered throughout the city remained mostly peaceful.
But there were also signs of increased tension as some threw bottles at Secret Service agents and police near the White House. Officers responded by firing tear gas to break up the crowds. The D.C. National Guard joined other armored forces in Lafayette Square, near the White House, in trying to control protesters.
“Don’t run! Don’t run!” some yelled as police and protesters clashed outside the park Saturday night.
Police wearing helmets and holding shields formed a line between the protesters and the White House, a hot spot in the city throughout much of Saturday evening.
At times, some protesters tried to knock over temporary barriers or approach officers, although none appeared to get near the tall fence at the White House. At least one vehicle was on fire a few blocks north of the White House, and firefighters also responded to an alley fire near the White House. A local TV station reported that stores in the city's tony Georgetown neighborhood had boarded windows.
"Multiple" special agents and uniformed officers were injured when some protesters threw bricks, rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers, officials said.
Incidents at Mar-a-Lago since Trump became president
Mar-a-Lago has been at the center of several security breaches since Trump became president.
In January 2020, Hannah Roemhild, 30, broke through multiple checkpoints outside Mar-a-Lago, prompting officers to open fire on her rental car. After a six-mile chase, authorities tackled her to the ground at a West Palm hotel.
Roemhild, a Connecticut resident, was arrested on charges including aggravated assault on law enforcement officers. She is expected to face federal charges as well and remains in custody at the Palm Beach County Jail.
Her attorney said she has a long history of mental illness. Authorities said it did not appear that she intentionally targeted Mar-a-Lago.
In March 2019, Yujing Zhang, 33, sparked security concerns when she tried to gain entry to Mar-a-Lago while carrying four cellphones, a computer, two Chinese passports, an external hard drive and a thumb drive.
Zhang was eventually convicted of lying to get into Mar-a-Lago and was sentenced to eight months in prison. At the time of her sentencing, she had already spent that amount of time in jail so she was turned over to immigration officials to be deported back to China.
In December 2019, Jing Lu, 56, was confronted by the private club’s security officers and told to leave, but she returned to take photos, authorities said.
In February 2010, she was found not guilty of trespassing. But she was found guilty of resisting arrest when officers later stopped her on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.
In November 2018, a University of Wisconsin student fooled Secret Service and got past security at an underground tunnel during the Thanksgiving break. It took 20 minutes before he was arrested. The breach occurred the day after Thanksgiving as Trump and his family were visiting.
USA Today contributed to this report.