Martin Luther King Jr.'s Daughter Says Arizona Protesters Would Suffer Police Violence if They Were Black

The daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has questioned what would happen if armed Black people gathered outside vote-counting centers, as some of President Donald Trump's supporters have done.

Bernice King, daughter of the late civil rights activist, took to Twitter to say the "democratic process is being disrupted" after demonstrators supporting the president gathered outside the Maricopa County Election Department office in Phoenix, Arizona.

With Biden leading the vote in the battleground state, around 150 Trump supporters, some of them armed, gathered outside the election center on Wednesday night chanting "count every vote." Arizona is an open-carry state.

Imagine, for a moment, if there were a large gathering of Black people, some with guns, outside of a ballot tabulating location in Arizona.

Imagine the police presence and violence toward that group, and the calls for “law and order.”

The democratic process is being disrupted.

— Be A King (@BerniceKing) November 5, 2020

The Associated Press reported that the crowd also chanted "Fox News sucks!" The network has called the state for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Trump supporters have converged on voting centers across the U.S., demanding every vote be counted in states where Trump is trailing Biden, while calling on counting to stop in the states where the president is ahead.

It came after Trump prematurely claimed victory in the election, even though neither he nor Biden have secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win and votes in key battleground states are still being counted.

King said that if the group outside the voting center had been made up of armed Black people, police would have responded in bigger numbers and with violence.

"Imagine, for a moment, if there were a large gathering of Black people, some with guns, outside of a ballot tabulating location in Arizona," she wrote. "Imagine the police presence and violence toward that group, and the calls for 'law and order.' The democratic process is being disrupted."

In the United States of America, people are protesting “vote counting.”

— Be A King (@BerniceKing) November 5, 2020

This nation has some difficult days ahead. We can’t lie to ourselves about that. Racism and white supremacy won’t go quietly. But go, they must.

— Be A King (@BerniceKing) November 5, 2020

She added: "In the United States of America, people are protesting 'vote counting'."

In another tweet, King said: "This nation has some difficult days ahead. We can't lie to ourselves about that. Racism and white supremacy won't go quietly. But go, they must." She has been contacted for additional comment.

Others made a similar point.

Robert Cruickshank, the campaign director at Demand Progress, tweeted: "Police when progressives peacefully demonstrate: 'crack down with everything we have, show no mercy!!'

"Police when conservatives show up with guns: 'oh, do you need us to stand aside? Sure thing good buddy.'"

Maricopa County is continuing to count ballots and aren’t intimidated by these goons, thank god. But still, the way progressives get treated when they speak out for Black lives and the way wingnuts get treated when they threaten democracy with guns is pretty fucking stark.

— Robert Cruickshank (@cruickshank) November 5, 2020

In another tweet, he added that "the way progressives get treated when they speak out for Black lives and the way wingnuts get treated when they threaten democracy with guns is pretty f**king stark."

The Martin Luther King Jr. Center shared a tweet from a local news reporter that said security at the Maricopa County election center were concerned that the crowd may try to make its way inside.

"This is what dangerous rhetoric, callous "leadership," fear of losing power, and white supremacist ideology will do," the center wrote.

Early Thursday morning, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office told Newsweek that it was "monitoring the crowd," which it described as peaceful. The office said no-one had been arrested and no citations had been issued.

The sheriff's office has been contacted for additional comment.

Maricopa County
President Donald Trump supporters gather at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 4, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images