NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Civil rights leaders say the pro-Trump violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday clearly illustrates a double standard on the part of law enforcement.
As a result, police departments are being forced to answer some tough questions.
President-elect Joe Biden branded the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol not a protest, but “domestic terrorism.” Easy to see coming, he said, and still met with a lax police response.
“If it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they would have been treated very, very differently,” Biden said Thursday.
Capitol Police were no match for the wave upon wave of Trump supporters breaking into doors and windows, at times putting up with very little resistance from officers charged with guarding the building.
In one video, a man in uniform appears to go so far as give them a helping hand.
Elsewhere, video shows officers appearing to pose for selfies with some who stormed the Capitol.
“Where was the preparation for it?” said retired NYPD sergeant Joseph Giacalone.
He is also an adjunct professor who helps train officers how to respond properly to riots.
“When you look at the preparation and the response that the Capitol Police had during the summer protests and what happened yesterday, it is a stark difference between the two and you have to ask why,” Giacalone told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
It wasn’t until hours after the breach that 1,100 D.C. National Guard troops were deployed and hundreds of federal law enforcement officers were sent to assist.
But compare that to June, when around 5,000 guardsmen and 16,000 active duty troops were deployed in preparation of Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd.
“There appear to have been differential treatment and that is one of the reasons why the insurrection escalated and was so successful,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said.
“I think it was an epic failure,” said security expert Manuel Gomez, formerly of the NYPD and FBI. “They need to be actively knowledgeable, to know that if this happens locally that they’ll be ready for it.”
He says the time to learn and to heal is now.
Watch Dave Carlin’s report —
“Too many Black people were killed with impunity,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “I saw the violence against peaceful, non-violent protesters.”
Outraged New York City leaders gathered at Cadman Plaza on Thursday, demanding all those who broke into the Capitol be found and charged with felonies. They also want an independent investigation into police actions.
“DOJ, do your job,” Williams said.
Brooklyn borough president and former NYPD captain Eric Adams says the disparity sends a clear message.
“It says to America, if you are white, you can do almost anything, include commit treason,” Adams said.
Thursday night, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in Brooklyn.
Among them was Justin Singh, who was in D.C. last June when the National Guard blocked the Lincoln Memorial steps during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.
“And then we get targeted as psychopaths and looters and thugs and rioters, but they literally loot the Capitol building and they get escorted out,” Singh said.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama posted to social media in part, “Yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nation. They’ve just got to look the right way.”
“Throughout the summer, the Capitol Police, the department was criticized for handling riots and all these protests in D.C. We have a category of what you can and cannot protest for,” said Ed Mullins, president of the NYPD’s Sergeants Union.
“How can New Yorkers have confidence in the NYPD when the Sergeants Union president is making a moral equivalency between the Black Lives Matter protests and the rioters at the Capitol yesterday?” CBS2’s Ali Bauman asked.
“That’s not true. I’m not making a moral equivalency,” Mullins said. “Taking over the nation’s Capitol is improper. It’s not orderly. As is the same protest we witnessed with Black Lives Matter.”
Sixty officers were injured at the Capitol on Wednesday.
The Capitol Police chief gave his letter of resignation Thursday night.
Dave Carlin and Ali Bauman contributed to this report.
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