Moderate Left Bias
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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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As members of Congress, journalists and others begin the process of getting to the bottom of how and why the US Capitol Building could have been so easily breached — and put at threat by thousands of insurrectionists and domestic terrorists incited by Donald Trump — one observation stood out almost immediately.
Certainly for those people of color–particularly Black people–who saw a very different reception from Capitol Police towards the Trump-backing terrorists storming the halls of Congress compared to racial confrontations in cities like Baltimore, Md., and elsewhere.
The difference: both the police and those coming in rioting were all largely white.
That racial homogeneity, many say, appears to have led at least some officers charged with repelling the terrorists, with instead treating them gently — with kid gloves even.
A U.S. Capitol Police officer posed for a photograph with a member of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the federal building on January 6 — leaving nearly a half-dozen dead, including at least one police officer.
MSNBC host Joy Reid noted the disparity powerfully that night as the terrorists were finally being pushed out of the Capitol, in an on-air soliloquy of sorts.
Reid compared the events of January 6 directly to her time covering the angry upheaval several years ago in Baltimore when a Black man named Freddie Gray died in police custody.
“The reason they could easily and casually, with their cameras on, film themselves throwing things through the walls of our Capitol, our property, going inside the Capitol, sitting in Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi’s office, casually, take pictures of themselves, have that played on Fox News, they know that they are not in jeopardy because the cops are taking selfies with them, walking them down the steps to make sure they’re not hurt, taking care with their bodies, not like they treated Freddie Gray’s body. White Americans aren’t afraid of the cops. White Americans are never afraid of the cops, even when they are committing insurrection,” Reid said. “Even when they’re engaged in attempting to occupy our Capitol to steal the votes of people who look like me because, in their minds, they own this country, they own that Capitol.
“They own the cops. The cops work for them and people like me have no damn right to try to elect a president because we don’t get to pick the president. They get to pick the president. They own the president. They own the White House. They own this country,” Reid continued. “And so when you think you own it, you own the place, you ain’t afraid of the police because the police are you and the police reflect back to them. ‘We’re with you. You’re good. We’re not going to hurt you because you’re not them.’ Guarantee you, if that was a Black Lives Matter protest in DC, there would already be people shackled, arrested, or dead. Shackled, arrested en masse, or dead.
“Get Brittany Packett Cunningham on here, she’ll tell you how they treated her in Ferguson. Put Alicia Garza on here. She’ll tell you how they treated her at every Black Lives Matter March. Get Patrice Cullors on. They’ll tell you,” Reid said, referring to several prominent national Black activists. “They’ll tell you what it feels like to protest peacefully and unarmed and how the police will treat you if you’re black.”
Looking at the legal response, the nation already has the necessary laws on the books — if only they would be applied, according to Black journalist Elie Mystal.
“Domestic terrorism is our Number One threat but we do not need new laws to deal with it or federal legislation or a new surveillance state,” Mystal said. “Insurrection is already a crime. Conspiracy to commit crimes are already a crime. Felony murder is already a crime. But what needs to do is not have a new surveillance state commission.
“What we need is to take the laws we already have and apply them to white people. For like once. Let’s try it. Tastes just like chicken,” Mystal added. “Take what we’ve got and I apply them to white people and see what happens because I think that’s the way forward.”
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