NC activists, professor say there is racial double standard in US Capitol riot response

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Millions were glued to their television and phone screens Wednesday as a mob of President Donald Trump supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol.  

“As a veteran.  As a civic engagement servant.  Just as an American citizen. I was really shocked,” said Dr. Johnny Bernard Hill.  

Hill is the Dean of the Shaw University School of Divinity with a concentration in diversity and community development.  

He said he couldn’t help but notice a difference.  

“I think it demonstrated that we are looking two very different systems of law and order as it relates to African Americans and the general white public,” Hill stated.  

These are sentiments echoed by many online and even the President-Elect.  

“If it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday [Wednesday]. They would’ve been treated very, very differently,” President-Elect Joe Biden said Thursday.  

Biden also tweeted, “all know that’s true — and it’s unacceptable.”    

CBS 17 examined both videos from Wednesday’s riot and from Black Lives Matter protests during the summer. 

The response by law enforcement during Wednesday’s riot offered what appeared to be little resistance. 

Some officers appeared to be overwhelmed, as the angry mob breached the Capitol, breaking windows, rampaging through congressional offices and fighting officers. 

During, for instance, George Floyd protests across the country, including in Raleigh, we noticed tear gas, flashbangs, and a much larger law enforcement presence. 

Hill said it’s absolutely fair to recognize the differences in the treatment of the rioters and Black Lives Matter protesters by law enforcement.  

“It is appropriate and necessary in order to understand the rule of law,” said Hill.  

Kerwin Pittman, an activist in the Raleigh area who was on the front lines of Black Lives Matter protests in the Triangle area last year, said there was a stark difference.  

“They [law enforcement] were armed and ready. We were shot down by rubber bullets, tear gas, innocent women, children, old ladies maced,” he said. 

The Associated Press reported that according to senior defense officials and people familiar with the matter, three days prior, the Pentagon asked the U.S. Capitol Police if it needed help from the National Guard. 

Also, as the mob descended on the Capitol, the AP also reported that justice department leaders reached out to offer FBI agents to help. 

However, both were turned down. 

“You know why? Because the underlying current of everything that exist in America is that white people are safe,” said Dawn Blagrove, Executive Director of Emancipate NC. 

After the chaos that unfolded in Washington this week, now the question is how do we move forward?  

“They need to acknowledge this and build a new foundation,” Pittman mentioned.  

“If we don’t get it right then there are millions of people around the world that will suffer,” Hill also stated. 

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