Black Lives Matter Says Capitol Response Shows Law Enforcement 'Hypocrisy'

Black Lives Matter has said the handling of violence at the Capitol compared to how other protests have been dealt with shows "hypocrisy" by law enforcement.

Thousands of Trump supporters attended a rally in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday before eventually storming the Capitol building.

Black Lives Matter, which describes itself as a global organization aiming "to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities," described the situation amounted to an "insurrection and coup."

The group said how it was dealt with was "one more example of the hypocrisy in our country's law enforcement response to protest."

It spoke of Black people being met by National Guard troops or police "equipped with assault rifles, tear gas and battle helmets."

"When white people attempt a coup, they are met by an underwhelming number of law enforcement personnel who act powerless to intervene," the group tweeted as the chaos unfolded.

Today’s insurrection and coup by hundreds of pro-Trump supporters is one more example of the hypocrisy in our country’s law enforcement response to protest.

— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) January 6, 2021

Newsweek has contacted Black Lives Matter for further comment.

Images of the response to protests in Washington, D.C. last year, amid widespread protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, have been shared online and contrasted with the response to the rally and storming of the Capitol.

As the situation unfolded, Janeese Lewis George, a D.C. council member, tweeted: "This is a complete disgrace. Over the summer we saw federal law enforcement use tear gas, flash bangs, and rubber bullets on Black Lives Matter protesters without provocation. Where are the riot squads now? Are they standing down as white supremacists attempt a coup?"

Law enforcement agencies had anticipated the possibility of violence, as Newsweek has previously reported. However, this did not prevent the storming of the Capitol.

As the incidents unfolded, the entire D.C. National Guard was deployed. However, there have been questions over an apparent lack of clear federal chain of command in the response.

Four people died, one having been shot by a Capitol police officer, amid the chaos. At least 52 people were arrested. One of those was shot by a Capitol police officer.

Lawmakers have pledged there will be an investigation into the violence. The FBI is also seeking tips to find people who instigated violence.

Newsweek has contacted Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. The Metropolitan Police Department referred to comments from Chief Robert Contee, detailing the arrests made and the deaths, which he described as tragic. He also outlined at least 14 police officers suffering injuries, two of whom were hospitalized.

"These officers should be commended for their work, they fought hard to protect our democracy," he said. "Not only today, but every day they wear that uniform."

He said he was comfortable with how the Metropolitan Police Department officers had been deployed. "We answered the call," he said.

Mayor Muriel Bowser remarked there was a difference in the federal response to Wednesday's situation compared to how protesters were controversially cleared from Lafayette Square in June.

"There is some difference in the federal response at Lafayette Square and at the U.S. Capitol," she said, detailing a "different posture used in some cases."

Mayor Bowser's office has been contacted for further comment.

riot police at us capitol
Riot police walk outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. as the building was stormed. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts