The Treatment of Capitol Insurrectionists vs The Treatment of BLM Protesters


Top Photo Credit: Richard Grant

A comparison of images. The top image is from a BLM rally in Long Beach. The bottom image is from the insurrection against the Capitol.

Elizabeth Graff, Reporter

On January 6, 2021, a frightening attack on America’s democracy took place. During the weeks before the insurrection at the Capitol, President Trump encouraged his supporters to gather at the Capitol and other areas around Washington D.C. On January 6, hours before the riot took place, hundreds of Trump supporters placed themselves on the Capitol Lawn. Mayhem ensued at around 1 p.m. ET, as the rioters broke through the Capitol barriers. They scuffled with the Capitol police who were in full riot gear. About an hour and a half later, the rioters managed to break into the building, while the doors to the senate and house chambers were being locked. During this time, members of the House, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, were instructed by Capitol security to evacuate from the chamber using underground tunnels. Unfortunately, five people were killed due to this insurrection. Four participants in the riot died, as well as one Capitol police officer who was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. This was the first time the Capitol has been attacked since the British burned the building in 1814.

It is impossible not to see the blatant hypocrisy towards the treatment of the violent rioters and the peaceful protestors during the Black Lives Matter protests this past summer. In the summer of 2020, multiple peaceful protests took place as a result of the brutal police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was accused of using a false twenty dollar bill. An extremely frustrating component of the riot on Wednesday was the lack of response by the government and police compared to the extremely dramatic response by those same people at the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests.

At the protests following George Floyd’s death, police attacked protesters, most of them peaceful, with tear gas, violence, and arrests. However, when the very opposite of peaceful protesters, the capitol insurrectionists, broke into the core building of the United States’ government and democracy, the same measurements were not taken. Officers at the Capitol incident were seen spraying pepper spray. There was also tear gas dispensed but it is unclear whether it was by the police or the protesters. The D.C. National Guard was called for the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest at the Lincoln Memorial in June. However, when it came to the insurrection, the National Guard was not called until late, after the people had already made it into the building. Additionally, at one Black Lives Matter Protest alone, police arrested 88 protesters, while only 55 people were arrested at the Capitol incident. In a group statement, organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement stated, “When Black people protest for our lives, we are all too often met by National Guard troops or police equipped with assault rifles, shields, tear gas, and battle helmets. Make no mistake, if the protesters were Black, we would have been tear-gassed, battered, and perhaps shot.”

President Trump still refuses to take any responsibility for any of the events that occurred. It has now been reported that he had to be convinced to tweet the few words that he did. Included is, President Trump’s tweets about the Black Lives Matter protests, and his response to the Capitol Insurrection. Additionally, in a video addressing the Capitol riot, Trump says, “We love you. You’re very special,” before telling the insurrectionists to “go home.” The hypocrisy is clear with his indignant and unfair treatment of the Black Lives Matter group and his supporters who committed violent acts of treason and domestic terrorism.

Another frustrating part of the whole event was the response of other government officials. The whole insurrection was caused by Trump’s false claim that Joe Biden’s win for the 2021 election was invalid. Since Trump and his legal team tried multiple ways of proving that Biden’s win was fraudulent through courts, with none succeeding, apparently, the only way to be heard was to ensure chaos.

Republican members of Congress such as Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley objected to Joe Biden’s win and continued to object, even after the terrible events on January 6th. Although other republican representatives, like Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham, changed their stances on objecting to Biden’s rightful win after the insurrection, Cruz and Hawley refuse to back down. Hawley was photographed raising his fist in encouragement to the protesters at the Capitol. It is believed that Hawley will continue to back up Trump’s claims in order to gain Trump’s supporters so he can run for president in the future, with their support.