Disparities Between Response to BLM Protests and Capitol Mob Reveal Systemic Racism

Julius Perez, Reporter

On Wednesday, January 6th, a conservative mob broke their way into the US Capitol to protest what they call a fraudulent or rigged election, which decided that Donald Trump will be removed from office and determined that Joseph Biden will become the 46th president of the United States. Just months before, overwhelmingly peaceful protests broke out all over the country to protest the death of a Black man by police, George Floyd, and against systemic racism in America. The difference in action taken by police against the different groups reveal deeply problematic issues in the police in the US.

The group that stormed the US Capitol because their beloved Trump lost, and the groups that demonstrated against police brutality and racism deserve different names. The group that conducted illegal activities and sedition should be referred to as a mob, while the Black Lives Matter (BLM) groups should be referred to as protesters. 93% of those protests were found to be peaceful, while 100% of those breaking their way into the capitol were doing something illegal.

One of the clearest examples of the disparity in police reaction can be seen through the number of arrests. 52 people were arrested in DC on the day of the raid, while 289 protests of racial justice were arrested just on just the day of June 1st in DC, with 427 arrests of protesters during the BLM demonstrations during the period of May 30th, to June 2nd 2020 in DC. Officers were seen taking pictures with members of the mob at the capital, while during the summer, all around the country, officers fired rubber bullets into crowds of BLM protesters.

Besides the officers removing barricades and posting selfies with the rioters, there was encouragement from the President of the United States himself. To continue to compare response to BLM protests and the mayhem at the capitol you can see what Trump said about the two groups. In response to BLM protests, Trump tweeted “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” His response to the Capitol rioters was “We love you, you’re very special.” 

The overall point is that if the protesters had been Black, and protesting for racial justice while breaking into the capital, the police would have responded differently. In contrast to the encouraging response to Capitol rioting from the police, the BLM protesters would have met fierce violence from them. After all, “They’ve killed us for less,” said the NAACP on Twitter.