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  The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration
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Last EditedRP  Jan 07, 2021 02:15pm
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AuthorMaggie Koerth
News DateThursday, January 7, 2021 08:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionAs images from Wednesday’s riot by pro-Trump extremists at the U.S. Capitol filled our TV screens and social media feeds, one thing was notably absent: the kind of confrontation between police and protesters that we saw during the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. Even though the Capitol mob was far more violent — and seditious — than the largely peaceful BLM demonstrators, police responded far less aggressively toward them than toward BLM protesters across the country. Researchers who track this sort of thing for a living say that fits a pattern.

Between May 1 and November 28, 2020, authorities were more than twice as likely to attempt to break up and disperse a left-wing protest1 than a right-wing2 one. And in those situations when law enforcement chose to intervene, they were more likely to use force — 34 percent of the time with right-wing protests compared with 51 percent of the time for the left. Given when this data was collected, it predominantly reflects a difference in how police respond to Black Lives Matter, compared with how they respond to anti-mask demonstrations, pro-Trump extremists, QAnon rallies, and militia groups.

The differences in intervention weren’t because BLM protests were particularly violent. ACLED found that 93 percent of the protests associated with BLM were entirely peaceful. “Even if we were to put those [7] percent of demonstrations aside and look purely at peaceful [BLM protests], we are seeing a more heavy handed response [compared with right-wing protests],” Kishi said.

This data is new and limited, but it is in keeping with long-documented biases in how police think about and treat Black people compared with white people, and with research that shows police and military personnel overlapping significantly with the same far-right groups they treat preferentially.
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