BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The President of Brockton's branch of the NAACP said the storming of the U.S. Capitol by President Trump's mostly white supporters on Wednesday highlights a stark double-standard in policing.
"Have you heard the saying; 'If you're white you're all right, if you're Black get back'?" asked Phyllis Ellis. "They saw all these white people coming down the street, and they thought it would be A-Okay."
Ellis said those who occupied the Capitol building Wednesday, temporarily halting the ratification of Joe Biden as President-elect, felt safe doing so because of their race.
"Had they been Black people, they wouldn't have gotten even close to the building," Ellis said. "But since they were white, and supposedly white supporters of Trump, they thought they had the right. They thought they would be protected. And why not? They got the command from the President of the United States to go down to the Capitol and raise holy hell."
During a Black Lives Matter protest at the Capitol last summer in response to the police-involved killing of George Floyd, thousands of largely peaceful demonstrators were forced back using teargas and rubber bullets and 90 people were arrested. The next day, another 289 people were taken into custody, and over the following weeks, a total 427 "unrest-related" arrests were made in D.C., including 24 juveniles, Forbes reports.
In the days after the riot in Washington D.C, several videos on social media showed police in riot gear escorting trespassers out of the Capitol building without being arrested, and officers assisting rioters who had been pepper sprayed. In the three days since they overtook the hallways of Congress, 52 people have been arrested in connection with the riots in D.C.
Several lawmakers, including President-elect Biden, have echoed Ellis' comments about the seeming ease with which the majority-white crowd overwhelmed Capitol police.
"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 said the day after the riots.
While President Trump called Black Lives Matter protesters who demonstrated outside the Capitol last year "thugs," he called those involved in the violent riots Wednesday "great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long."
Ellis said despite the double-standard that appears to protects white supremacy, the Black movement for justice will continue.
WBZ NewsRadio's Suzanne Sausville reports:
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