Racism of Capitol Rioters Takes Center Stage in Jan. 6 Hearing

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It had lone been hinted astatine successful erstwhile nationalist examinations of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection: Scores of rioters attacked constabulary officers not conscionable with makeshift weapons, stun guns and fists, but with racist slurs and accusations of treason.

Four officers, 2 from the U.S. Capitol Police and 2 from the D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, connected Tuesday elaborate the racism and bigotry they encountered during the convulsive battle connected the Capitol. Their direct, harrowing accounts laid retired the hours erstwhile the pro-police sentiment of Trump's supporters was pushed aside, consumed by the fury of wanting to support him successful the White House.

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn told lawmakers astir an speech helium had with rioters, who disputed that President Joe Biden defeated erstwhile President Donald Trump successful the past statesmanlike election. When Dunn, who is Black, argued with the rioters that helium voted for Biden and that his ballot should beryllium counted, a assemblage began hurling the N-word astatine him.

Capitol Riot Coverage:

“One pistillate successful a pinkish ‘MAGA’ (Make American Great Again) garment yelled, ‘You perceive that, guys, this n——— voted for Joe Biden!’” said Dunn, who has served much than a twelve years connected the Capitol Police force.

“Then the crowd, possibly astir 20 people, joined in, screaming “Boo! F——— n—— !” helium testified. He said nary 1 had ever called him the N-word portion helium was successful uniform. That night, helium sat successful the Capitol Rotunda and wept.

Ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a subordinate of the panel, said the Capitol and D.C. officers would supply penetration into “what it was similar to beryllium connected the beforehand lines.”

The House prime committee formed to analyse the Jan. 6 onslaught connected the U.S. Capitol held its archetypal proceeding connected Tuesday

However, Dunn was besides speaking to the acquisition of being an African-American constabulary officer, who marque up 29% of astir 2,300 officers and civilians serving connected the Capitol Police force.

Dunn said different Black antheral serviceman told him that, portion confronting the rioters connected Jan. 6, helium was told to “Put your weapon down and we’ll amusement you what benignant of n—— you truly are!”

The panel’s chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, pressed Dunn further astir however helium felt being an African-American serviceman facing down racists and enduring radical slurs successful the halls of democracy.

“It’s conscionable truthful disheartening that radical similar that volition onslaught you conscionable for the colour of your skin,” Dunn replied. “Once I was capable to process it, it hurt. My humor is red. I’m an American citizen. I’m a constabulary officer. I’m a bid officer.”

While Black Americans marque up astir 13% of the U.S. population, they were astir 11% of each constabulary officers successful 2016 crossed a sampling of 18,000 section instrumentality enforcement agencies successful the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Over 71% of officers were achromatic successful 2016.

It’s this benignant of attraction endured by Black men and women successful instrumentality enforcement that policing experts accidental makes recruitment and diverseness among U.S. constabulary forces challenging. The instrumentality enforcement assemblage has besides struggled with its origins successful America, dating backmost to the enslaved patrols successful the aboriginal 1700s formed to seizure radical who escaped slavery and terrorize the enslaved into submission. Although galore African-Americans person served valiantly connected section and national constabulary forces since the Civil Rights movement, information shows Black Americans are inactive arrested successful disproportionate numbers and much apt to beryllium fatally changeable by police.

Another Capitol Police officer, Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, wiped distant tears arsenic helium recalled the communicative of his migration to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, lone to look chap Americans who considered him a traitor for defending the Capitol connected Jan. 6.

“It was precise disappointing,” Gonell said. “I saw galore officers warring for their lives against people, rioters (and) citizens, turning against us."

Gonell, an Iraq War veteran, besides called retired the disparate instrumentality enforcement response to the overwhelmingly achromatic assemblage of rioters and the effect to radical justness protests successful 2020 that followed the execution of George Floyd and the constabulary progressive deaths of different Black Americans.

“As America and the satellite watched successful fearfulness what was happening to america astatine the Capitol, we did not person timely reinforcements and enactment we needed,” helium said. “In contrast, during the Black Lives Matter protestation past year, U.S. Capitol Police had each the enactment we needed and more. Why the antithetic response?”

Indeed, instrumentality enforcement agencies successful dozens of cities past twelvemonth showed overwhelming unit toward BLM demonstrators. Many utilized chemic dispersants, rubber bullets and hand-to-hand combat with mostly peaceful crowds and immoderate unruly vandals and looters. By the extremity of 2020, constabulary had made much than 14,000 arrests.

In January, arsenic images and video emerged from the attacks connected the Capitol, a racist and anti-Semitic constituent among the rioters became apparent. One antheral was pictured wrong of the Capitol gathering carrying a Confederate conflict flag.

And successful the astir 7 months since the attacks, much video investigations revealed respective rioters had flashed achromatic supremacist pack signs and "white power" manus signals during the insurrection.

Gonell besides called retired the hypocrisy helium perceived from galore of the rioters who profess to enactment instrumentality enforcement — “the bladed bluish line” — but did not hold with those protesting implicit Floyd past summer.

“There are immoderate who expressed outrage erstwhile idiosyncratic simply kneeled for societal justness during the nationalist anthem,” Dunn said. “Where are those aforesaid radical expressing outrage to condemn the convulsive onslaught connected instrumentality enforcement officers, the U.S. Capitol, and our American democracy?”

“I’m inactive waiting for that,” helium said.


Morrison reported from New York. He is simply a subordinate of AP's Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him connected Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison.

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