Special News Series: Rising Up For Justice! – Racial Double Standard of Capitol Police Draws Outcry


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Introduction To This Series:

This post is one installment in an ongoing news series: a “living history” of the current national and international uprising for justice.

Today’s movement descends directly from the many earlier civil rights struggles against repeated injustices and race-based violence, including the killing of unarmed Black people. The posts in this series serve as a timeline of the uprising that began on May 26, 2020, the day after a Minneapolis police officer killed an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, by kneeling on his neck. The viral video of Floyd’s torturous suffocation brought unprecedented national awareness to the ongoing demand to truly make Black Lives Matter in this country.

The posts in this series focus on stories of the particular killings that have spurred the current uprising and on the protests taking place around the USA and across the globe. Sadly, thousands of people have lost their lives to systemic racial, gender, sexuality, judicial, and economic injustice. The few whose names are listed here represent the countless others lost before and since. Likewise, we can report but a few of the countless demonstrations for justice now taking place in our major cities, small towns, and suburbs.

To view the entire series of Rising Up for Justice! posts, insert “rising up” in the search bar above.

Racial Double Standard of Capitol Police Draws Outcry

Black Lives Matter activists said the tepid response from law enforcement officers to mostly white protesters stood in stark contrast to the aggressive tactics they have endured for years.

By John Eligon, New York Times

January 8, 2021

Activist in Minneapolis with megaphone
Hundreds of activists marched through the streets of Minneapolis the day after November’s election, advocating for an end to police brutality. The group eventually marched onto an Interstate where law enforcement surrounded them and demanded that everyone sit down to be arrested.Credit…Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

While protesting the police killing of a Black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., several years ago, Johnetta Elzie said she was manhandled by officers. She said they pointed rifles at Black women who were pushing toddlers in strollers and cursed at them to turn around.

Similar scenes unfolded all summer, as police officers clashed with scores of Black Lives Matter protesters. Many times, officers used batons and chemical agents to disperse crowds.

And so what Ms. Elzie saw on television Wednesday afternoon infuriated her: A mob of mostly white Trump supporters stormed past police officers and vandalized the United States Capitol while officers, after initially offering resistance, mostly stood by. Some officers parted barricades, others held doors open and one was seen on video escorting a woman down steps

Black Lives Matter activists across the country expressed outrage on Thursday at what they said was a tepid response from law enforcement officers to mostly white protesters, saying it stood in stark contrast to the aggressive tactics they have endured for years — officers in full riot gear who have used tear-gas, rubber bullets and batons. It also underscored the country’s uneven system of justice, many said, and lent credence to their insistence that Black people are devalued and viewed as inherently dangerous.

In a national address Thursday afternoon, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. acknowledged the seemingly disparate treatment, saying he had received a text message from his granddaughter who questioned the police response at the Capitol…

Black activists noted that when they have planned protests, the police have rarely seemed ill prepared. This week, for instance, National Guard troops descended on Kenosha, Wis., and metal barricades were erected around that city’s courthouse the day before a prosecutor announced that no charges would be filed against an officer who shot a man, Jacob Blake, multiple times in the back last summer.

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