Washington, DC – President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris blasted the police response to the Capitol building riot this week, claiming officers would have handled the situation much differently if the crowd would have been Black Lives Matter supporters.
Biden said on Thursday that there was a blatant double-standard in how police responded to the anticipated pro-President Trump rally versus the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that took place throughout the country during the bulk of 2020, The Hill reported.
The anti-police riots left swaths of many cities torched and looted, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damages throughout the nation and leaving countless law enforcement officers injured.
Many mainstream media outlets have widely touted the violent uprisings as “mostly peaceful protests,” and allege police have routinely used excessive force against “demonstrators.”
Biden did not mention the damage that the riots have had in communities across the nation, but he did note on Thursday that police were much more lenient during the Capitol riot than they would have been if the crowd was comprised of Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
His statement highlights that the understaffed police response is evidence that that a stronger response is necessary, and was appropriate during anti-Trump demonstrations.
“Not only did we see the failure to protect one of the three branches of our government, we also saw a clear failure to carry out equal justice,” he declared.
"No one can tell me, that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday they wouldn't have been treated very, very differently," President-elect Joe Biden says, "than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that's true, and it is unacceptable." pic.twitter.com/lPA93nrGED
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 7, 2021
Biden referred to a text he received from his granddaughter featuring a photo that showed a multitude of officers dressed in “military gear” guarding the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during a Black Lives Matter demonstration this past summer, The Hill reported.
He said the university senior told him that the way police responded to the Capitol demonstration versus the demonstration shown in the photo wasn’t “fair,” he said.
“No one can tell me that if that had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” Biden opined. “We all know that’s true, and it is unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.”
He said citizens saw what occurred “in plain view,” and that he hopes “it sensitizes them to what we have to do.”
Harris said the Capitol riot proves that the justice system “does not work equally for all” and needs to be reformed, The Hill reported.
“We witnessed two systems of justice when we saw one that let extremists storm the United States Capitol and another that released tear gas on peaceful protesters last summer,” Harris said. “The American people have expressed, rightly, outrage. We know this is unacceptable.”
She further claimed that the U.S. justice system “is experienced differently depending on whether you are white or black,” The Hill reported.
Howard University Associate Professor of Political Science Keneshia Grant told NBC News that it is “absolutely true that the insurgents…were treated with much more care than the folks who participated in the Black Lives Matter protests,” NBC News reported.
“What we saw was a system of law enforcement that’s designed to protect certain people,” Grant declared.
U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Steven Sund has agreed to resign his post amid allegations from federal lawmakers and the police union that he underestimated the potential for violence that resulted in the Capitol building being overrun by rioters.
The Pentagon first offered to provide National Guard manpower to supplement the USCP three days ahead of the anticipated pro-President Trump rally, but Chief Sund declined, the Associated Press reported.
The Justice Department tried to send Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents as the massive mob descended on the Capitol Building on Wednesday, but the chief again refused to accept help, according to the Associated Press.
The 2,300-man department had access to ample resources and had weeks to prepare for what many warned could be an insurrection, but USCP administrators opted to plan a response for nothing more than a free speech demonstration, the Associated Press reported.
According to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, department administrators did not develop a backup plan for what would be done in the event the USCP officers became overrun.
“There was a failure of leadership at the top,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – California) said the following day as she called on Chief Sund to resign, the Associated Press reported.
The USCP never erected a hard perimeter around the Capitol Building as the massive crowd convened. They set up barricades on the plaza, but rioters barged through them after officers retreated towards the building, according to the Associated Press.
Rioters ultimately stormed the building and flooded the hallways inside, where they clashed with officers and destroyed property as lawmakers, staff members, and reporters hid beneath chairs and barricaded themselves inside rooms.
At least 69 people were arrested on Wednesday night as area agencies rushed in to help the overrun USCP, The Hill reported.
Over 50 MPD and USCP officers were injured while responding to various incidents associated with the mass gathering, Chief Sund said in a press release on Thursday.
At least one MPD officer was dragged into a crowd of rioters during the mayhem, CBS News reported.
Investigators recovered a cooler of Molotov cocktails, two pipe bombs, and six firearms as they worked for hours to quell the chaos.
The department did not elaborate on the injuries he suffered, but two law enforcement officials said he was hit with a fire extinguisher as rioters stormed through the halls of Congress and lawmakers hid beneath their desks, The New York Times reported.
Officer Sicknick was rushed to a local hospital, where his family learned he had a blood clot on his brain and had been placed on a ventilator, his brother, Craig Sicknick, told the Daily Beast.
The veteran officer remained hospitalized until his death at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, according to the USCP.
USCP Labor Committee Fraternal order of Police (FOP) Chairman Gus Papathanassiou said on the day of Officer Sicknick’s death that the department’s “leadership failed us.”
“The rank and file of the United States Capitol Police (USCP) are frustrated and demoralized by the lack of leadership that undermined the response of law enforcement to the violent events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th,” Papathanassiou wrote in a press release on Thursday.
The FOP called “for leadership change at the highest level,” to include ousting Chief Sund, his assistant chiefs, and his senior command staff.
Papathanassiou said USCP officers “are sickened by the tragic and avoidable events that occurred during the attack on the Capitol.”
“We have several protesters dead, multiple officers injured and the symbol of our Democracy, the U.S. Capitol, desecrated. This never should have happened,” he wrote. “This lack of planning led to the greatest breach of the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812. This is a failure of leadership at the very top.”
Papathanassiou said he is “incredibly proud” of the officers who were working the front lines that day, and credited them for protecting “the lives of hundreds of Members of Congress and their staff.”
“Once the breach of the Capitol building was inevitable, we prioritized lives over property, leading people to safety,” he wrote. “Not one Member of Congress or their staff was injured.”
The FOP chairman said the officers undisputedly did their jobs during the violent uprising.
“Our leadership did not,” he added. “Our officers are experienced and they are dedicated, but they lacked the immediate backup and equipment needed to control the surging crowd as events quickly spiraled out of control.”
Chief Sund’s office said his resignation will go into effect on Jan. 16, just days before Biden’s inauguration, NBC News reported.
The outgoing chief did not mention the Capitol riot in his brief resignation letter, according to ABC News.
“It has been a pleasure and true honor to serve the United States Capitol Police Board and the Congressional community alongside and the women and men of the United States Capitol Police,” the letter read.
Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving also announced their resignations on Thursday, The New York Times reported.
Stenger and Irving were responsible for providing security inside chambers and Congressional office buildings, according to the paper.