Black Cops’ Blue Lives Didn’t Matter Much To Trump’s Mob
Donald Trump frequently described Black Lives Matter as racist and anti-cop. He was deeply offended that some protesters at some rally someplace chanted, “Pigs in a blanket. Fry 'em like bacon." (Five years ago. Fox News runs that clip A LOT.) It wasn't actually a call to murder all cops but just to legally treat the ones who murder people the same way we do common gangbangers.
I bring this up because President Law & Order has been conspicuously silent after his personal lynch mob invaded the Capitol on January 6. Trump supporters carrying “Stop the Steal" signs and Trump flags viciously beat a cop who stood in their way. They dragged him down the Capitol steps by his helmet.
The clip, which some may find disturbing, shows the moment where a protester wearing a black, red and white cap cli… https://t.co/mSM7eUKXGc— Bellingcat (@Bellingcat)1610292046.0
There's been recent focus on the fact that Brian Sicknick, the cop Trump's mob beat to death with a fire extinguisher, was also a Trump supporter. Sicknick was a white male in law enforcement, so this fact is neither shocking nor relevant. I don't want to see anyone beaten to death with a fire extinguisher.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee says members of his force who served in Iraq says Wednesday's attack on the Capitol… https://t.co/ELwtH8wkUT— Zach C. Cohen (@Zach C. Cohen)1610381211.0
We've also learned the pro-Trump rally crowd included police officers from, so far, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Rocky Mount, Virginia, and probably many other places because cops love Trump. This was always a potential concern if Trump tried a coup.
But there were also Black cops defending the Capitol and statistically they were less likely to ride at the front of the Trump train. They had to put up with Trump's racist supporters and were arguably left in the cold by Capitol Police who didn't treat Trump's rally as the looming threat it was. This was not any other protest, like some rightwing version of a Free Tibet rally.
Trump spent weeks targeting the electoral vote count in Congress. It was presented as a possible “last stand" to prevent a stolen election. The police often take greater precautions when prosecutors are scheduled to announce they aren't pressing charges against the latest cop who killed a Black person for a flimsy-ass reason.
According to an article in BuzzFeed, one Black Capitol Police officer was only aware of potential trouble on January 6 when a friend tipped him off.
"I found out what they were planning when a friend of mine screenshot me an Instagram story from the Proud Boys saying, 'We're breaching the Capitol today, guys. I hope y'all ready.'" The officer, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation from his superiors, told BuzzFeed News that it was just a sign of the chaos that was to come, which saw officers regularly finding themselves unprepared and then outmanned and overpowered by the mob.
It's appalling that Capitol Police wouldn't give a heads up to minority officers that a bunch of Confederate-flag-humping white supremacists were coming to party. Historically, such events rarely end well.
@igorbobic He blocked the hallway then pushed him away from the hallway because he knew that guy would follow him w… https://t.co/xpGfmwEQhs— ⓘ 10 PM Curfew Lefty (@ⓘ 10 PM Curfew Lefty)1610255919.0
Black officers described Trump's goons hurling racial epithets at them, but verbal abuse was the least of their problems. Their supervisors clearly dropped the ball on what become a domestic terror attack with an obvious political objective. How did they miss this? The planning and plotting were all over the Internet.
One veteran Black officer told BuzzFeed that they'd tried unsuccessfully to keep the mob at bay for two hours, contrary to footage that shows the cops letting the terrorists in without even checking for tickets. He claims the footage of goofy Viking shaman roaming the Capitol downplays how organized and prepared the insurrectionists were.
"That was a heavily trained group of militia terrorists that attacked us," said the officer, who has been with the department for more than a decade. "They had radios, we found them, they had two-way communicators and earpieces. They had bear spray. They had flash bangs ... They were prepared. They strategically put two IEDs, pipe bombs, in two different locations. These guys were military trained. A lot of them were former military," the officer said, referring to two suspected pipe bombs that were found outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.
This was all coordinated, well-planned, and organized, as Nancy Pelosi said. Black officers reportedly encountered thugs inside the Capitol who flashed their police badges and claimed they were “doing this for you," because apparently installing Trump as an unelected despot is how you ensure Blue Lives Matter.
A Black officer described how upset he was to see insurrectionists waving Blue Lives Matter flags and white colleagues taking selfies with white supremacists roaming freely in the Capitol with Confederate flags held high.
"That one hurt me the most because I was on the other side of the Capitol getting my ass kicked," he said.
Despite the abuse from within and without their own ranks, it was still a Black officer who bravely lured a pack of racists away from an unsecured Senate, which undoubtedly saved lives. Maybe I'm biased, but I think this officer deserves to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom today more than GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."