Man Who Went Viral for Screaming at Capitol Rioters Says He 'Needed to Let Them Have It'

Peter Tracey, a 60-year-old lawyer from Washington D.C., went viral this week, thanks to a video that captured footage of him shouting about the rioters who invaded the Capitol building on Wednesday.

So I filmed this video today. I shot it in a D.C. neighbourhood as Trump-supporters were leaving downtown after the protests and riots today. Apparently it went viral after I posted in on my Instagram @westhrin So here it is, Twitter! #guyonporch #womanincar

— Veronica Westhrin (@NRKveronica) January 7, 2021

The clip was filmed on Wednesday outside of Tracey's home, just north of the Capitol, where supporters of President Donald Trump were wreaking havoc by taking over the building and temporarily disrupting the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. A Norwegian journalist recorded Tracey and another D.C. resident sharing their frustrations with the violent scene.

"[Get] outta town, f**king treasonous pieces of s**t," Tracey shouts in the video.

As seen in the clip, Shawn Tia Humphriea, 34, a Black woman sitting in a car near Tracey's house, calls back to him: "They're really destroying our city."

"They're destroying the f**king city, and it's like nobody gives a s**t. If that was Black Lives Matter, they'd have tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue," Tracey yells back.

"It makes me teary-eyed," Humphriea responds. "If it was us and Black Lives Matter, we couldn't do none of that. We'd die."

In a phone call with Newsweek, Tracey said that he was "appalled" to see the mob overrun a "sacred" institution of our democracy, especially as a D.C. resident. He and Humphriea—the latter of whom also talked with Newsweek over the phone—both voiced exasperation with how the Capitol rioters were treated by law enforcement, as compared to how Black Lives Matter protesters were treated this past summer. It's a racial justice issue that many people have raised over the past several days.

"Military and police were used in the most brutal way against Black and brown bodies," Tracey said, referring to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

Humphriea said that, while she thought it was "hilarious" at first to see Tracey shouting about the mob, his genuine anger made an impression on her. "Once I noticed he was really torn and upset, I broke down too, because once he started talking about the Black Lives Matter [protests], and how he compared the two together, that hit home for me, because I was down there for the Black Lives Matter march, and they literally used tear gas [and] rubber bullets for us just walking down the street. We didn't even get to get to the Capitol grounds," she said.

Tracey and Humphriea both also said that they'd been hesitant to call out the rioters and the people attending the pro-Trump rally on Wednesday, as D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released a statement earlier in the week advising people not to engage. Tracey said that he planned on following the order, and that he wouldn't have shouted at Trump supporters walking by his house, had their flags and banners not been raised or unrolled. "If you want to walk through my neighborhood, as the people I was screaming at did, with your Trump banner unfurled. Well, in my mind, you've opened the door to my fair comment on your position," he said. "I just needed to let them have it."

As the video of the two of them has gone viral, Humphriea said she hopes the video shows that issues like racism affect more people than we might initially realize. "I just hope they take away that something needs to change. This video is basically crying out that these residents, and also that white people, are affected by this injustice and this racial stuff, too," she said.

Tracey said he wants people who watch the video to become aware of inequalities in policing, when it comes to white people versus Black and brown people. "We have to seriously, seriously look at disparate policing and law enforcement that goes on in this country, and if the other day taught us anything, it was: If you didn't see it before, you saw it that day," he said.

Since the video and subsequent media attention, the pair have also become friends, as Humphriea shared on her Instagram.

"I'm hopeful that our discussions about this will continue, and that if we can be part of a bigger discussion, I'm all in," Tracey said. "I think that this is one of the biggest issues our country faces, and Shawn Tia is great. I think we can both learn a little bit from each other because I certainly learned a good deal from her, even in the short time since we've met."

Guy on Porch Capitol Protest Riots
After protesters stormed the Capitol, Peter Tracey was angered and let Trump-supporters passing his Washington D.C. home know exactly how he felt. Screenshot/Twitter/Veronica Westhrin