Local electeds blast police response to pro-Trump mob compared to BLM protesters

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington
The scene at the Capitol Building during the pro-Trump riots on Wednesday.
REUTERS/Leah Millis

A cadre of local elected officials are blasting the apparent disparity between the response of law enforcement to Wednesday’s insurrection at the United States Capitol Building and that of the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests in New York — saying the predominantly white pro-Trump mob faced comparatively little repercussions for their actions. 

“Videos on social media actually shows officers taking a selfie with an insurrection, another shows an officer helping a woman involved in the coup attempt down the stairs, out of the building,” Borough President Eric Adams said at a rally on Thursday. “Thousands attempted to overtake our government, yet 50 were arrested, not acceptable.”

Although the dust has settled in the capital, Adams, along with Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, called for an investigation into the behavior of law enforcement tasked with protecting the Capitol from destruction and violence.

Adams took aim at the Capitol Police for a number of incidents documented on viral video clips, including the video of the “selfie” with a rioter and another clip where police seemingly opened the protective gates, allowing demonstrators to edge closer to the building. 

“The photos and videos are clear. The overwhelming number of people who participated in Black Lives Matter marches were black lives. The protesters just today, were white,” Adams said. “We treated one group [with] a very heavy handed police presence. We treated another group, as though they were just [out] for a walk, for picnicking in our nation’s capital.”

The Beep said he hopes to see a full investigation, with subpoenas for communications made by police officers who may have been involved. 

Both Adams and Williams expressed dismay at the simple contrast between the militant preparations made by Capitol Police during the George Floyd demonstrations and the seeming lack of preparation for the majority white crowd.

“Yesterday, thousands upon thousands of protesters took the Capitol building by force. They scaled the walls, they had pipe bombs,” Williams said. “They broke windows. They fought with police. They were met with shrugs and selfies…and even security, opening the gates for them.”

According to Cumbo, the outrage that led to the destruction of the Capitol Building on Wednesday is a result of African Americans rising up in society. She singled out President Barack Obama’s election as a turning point in the national zeitgeist. 

“Yesterday, we saw the ramifications of an African American man who became president for two terms — no scandals, delivered the country back to its rightful place, globally — and we saw a reaction to what we saw when President Barack Obama was elected,” she said. 

Adams hopes to see the creation of a task force, led by the Department of Justice and coordinated with police, and of a commission to determine how the protesters were able to breach the Capitol.

The remarks come as the chief of the Capitol Police reportedly told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he would submit his resignation, and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he would fire the Senate sergeant at arms unless he resigns.

A version of this story first appeared on AMNY.com.