For Police, MAGA Insurrectionists Weren't A Threat. Black Lives Matter Was.
Written by Black Voices on January 8, 2021
On Wednesday, a crowd of white supporters of President Donald Trump livestreamed a fascist revolt. They filmed themselves storming the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., tossing apart barricades, smashing home windows and ransacking legislative workplaces. They filmed themselves screaming and chanting, exultant that they’d by some means simply occupied the seat of American energy.
Most didn’t even trouble to cover their faces, seemingly unafraid of later being recognized and arrested for vandalizing the very place the place this nation’s legal guidelines are made.
Their purpose was clear — they even broadcast their intentions on the web: to thwart the democratic will of the American individuals by disrupting a joint congressional session wherein the 2020 election outcomes have been set to be formally licensed.
However even with all of the warning and time to organize, the Capitol Police have been overrun. At occasions, and disturbingly so, some even gave the impression to be accommodating. Livestreams confirmed cops shaking palms and posing for selfies with these MAGA insurrectionists. Different movies confirmed the relative ease with which Trump’s supporters trespassed into the Capitol, charging previous police and forcing lawmakers to evacuate.
The factor is, the Capitol Police are well-practiced at mass arrests. And so they’ve earned a repute for being unforgiving and merciless sufficient, for instance, to pull disabled demonstrators from the halls of Congress for demanding reasonably priced well being care.
So why did cops seem to face down so simply as a MAGA mob laid siege to the Capitol? Why give up so shortly to a horde of Purple Hats, leaving them to urinate on the ground and loot workplaces, inflicting elected officers to flee into hiding? It’s a query quite a few investigations will attempt to reply over the subsequent months and years.
These inquiries will probably conclude that cops have been undermanned and that the companies concerned ignored mountains of intelligence exhibiting pro-Trump extremists overtly plotting the Jan. 6 revolt on-line, in plain sight. (U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned on Thursday.)
However what the chaos within the capital on Wednesday has already laid naked is how regulation enforcement usually makes use of a hands-off strategy to white right-wing demonstrations — such because the lethal 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — whereas being well-prepared to violently crush actions for liberation and racial justice.
(Images of police making violent arrests at rallies and protests from 2020 and 2016 seem under.)
In June, for instance, when antiracist protesters rallied within the capital, Nationwide Guard troops in bulletproof vests, helmets and goggles lined the steps of the Lincoln Memorial like an occupying military; police flew helicopters low sufficient to generate gale-force winds; and, at Trump’s behest, demonstrators have been tear-gassed out of Lafayette Park so the president could possibly be filmed strolling to a close-by church, the place he held up a Bible for the cameras.
“So rattling bored with residing in a rustic that treats Black grief as a menace and white rage as a sacrament,” Rev. Jacqui Lewis, a theologian and antiracist activist, tweeted Wednesday after Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol.
“The place there’s radical Black resistance, there’s state repression,” Guardian columnist Derecka Purnell wrote. “The place there’s white riot for conservative causes, there’s collusion with the state.”
Tens of hundreds of individuals have been arrested through the antiracist uprisings that swept the nation in 2020 when protesters referred to as for the defunding or abolition of police departments after the high-profile police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and lots of others. (Police have arrested only some dozen individuals from Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol.)
Police brutality at these occasions was the topic of lots of of viral movies: a 75-year-old man being knocked down so exhausting he bled from his ears; a girl being pushed to the bottom so exhausting that she went right into a seizure; cops dashing patrol vehicles into crowds; police flattening protesters’ anti-COVID masks simply to pepper-spray them within the face.
Fascists and diverse white vigilantes usually joined police in confronting or attacking antiracist protesters. The malevolent MAGA coalition that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday — a motley crew of white nationalists, Proud Boys, militiamen and followers of the QAnon conspiracy motion — is the exact same MAGA coalition that confirmed as much as usually violently confront Black Lives Matter protesters all through 2020.
Police at these protests steadily appeared to ally themselves with, and even belong to, these far-right teams. A Georgia police officer was noticed fist-bumping an armed militiaman; an Orange County, California, cop was photographed sporting a militia patch; and the Nationwide Guard despatched a Proud Boy to police protests in Los Angeles.
Maybe most infamously, a cop In Kenosha, Wisconsin, was filmed telling a paramilitary group over a loudspeaker, “We recognize you guys, we actually do.” The cop then tossed a 17-year-old named Kyle Rittenhouse a bottle of water. Later that evening, Rittenhouse — a Trump fanatic who wrote “BLUE LIVES MATTER” in his TikTok bio — shot and killed two antiracist protesters.
Pictured under: Professional-Trump rioters storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
It’s attainable that police have been so unprepared for Trump’s supporters to storm the Capitol this week as a result of U.S. police are so used to seeing Trump’s supporters as allies or, to place it in cop parlance, “friendlies.”
A number of reviews for the reason that riot have documented how regulation enforcement did not see the president’s fanatical supporters as probably violent.
Appearing Metropolitan Police Division Chief Robert Contee stated there was “no intelligence that there could be a breach of the U.S. Capitol” on Wednesday — although journalists and extremism researchers had raised alarms about MAGA World’s requires violent revolt.
Neither the FBI nor an intelligence unit within the Division of Homeland Safety noticed the demonstrations as posing a major menace, the Wall Road Journal reported.
The U.S. Capitol Police rejected each the Pentagon’s and the Justice Division’s presents to assist through the pro-Trump demonstrations, in response to the Related Press.
In the end, 5 individuals have died because of the siege. Ashli Babbit, a navy veteran and QAnon conspiracy theorist, was shot by a plainclothes officer as she tried to shatter glass on the door main into the Speaker’s Foyer of the Capitol. Three different pro-Trump rioters died of unspecified medical emergencies.
And U.S. Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick died Thursday after struggling accidents whereas “bodily participating” with the rioters, officers stated.
Because the demise rely has risen, an increasing number of tales have emerged of cops aiding the rioters and even taking part within the riots themselves.
One Trump supporter informed The New York Occasions that as he was looking for and confront Sen. Chuck Schumer within the Capitol, a police officer kindly directed him towards the Democratic senator’s workplace.
One other rioter gave CNN a glowing overview of his time within the Capitol: “It was actually bizarre. The cops have been like, ‘Have a pleasant day, man.’ You possibly can see that a few of them have been on our aspect.”
And a D.C. police officer claimed that off-duty cops and members of the navy have been among the many rioters Wednesday, exhibiting their badges and ID playing cards to on-duty cops as they stormed the constructing.
In the end, U.S. police could also be ill-equipped to combat the extremist MAGA motion as a result of, as an establishment, American policing doesn’t see the MAGA motion because the menace to democracy that it’s.
Simply earlier than the siege on the Capitol Wednesday, a journalist filmed two MAGA fans performing a grisly reenactment, seen under, of the police homicide of George Floyd — one thing Trump supporters have been identified to do as a means of taunting Black Lives Matter activists.
The 2 males climbed the steps of the Nationwide Metropolis Church in Washington beneath an enormous Black Lives Matter banner the church’s congregants had simply hung outdoors.
One of many males, sporting a MAGA hat, performed the cop, urgent his knee into the neck of the person enjoying Floyd, holding the pose simply lengthy sufficient for photographers to take their image.
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