Today the worst member of the incoming Biden administration, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, said of yesterday’s chaos on Capitol Hill, “we witnessed two systems of justice when we saw one that let extremists storm the United States Capitol, and another that released tear gas on peaceful protesters last summer. The American people have expressed rightly outrage. We know this is unacceptable. We know we should be better than this.”
Yesterday the U.S. Capitol Police used tear gas to dispel the angry mob, and you can see video of them doing so here, here, here, here, and here. You can see video of the police using flash bangs to disperse the crowd here, here, here, here, and here. You can see video of police using pepper spray here and here, and pushing protesters back with nightsticks here and here. Protesters shot pepper spray at the Capitol Police as well, as you can see here and here.
The police inside the capital also shot and killed a woman, which should dispel the notion that they were too hesitant to use force to protect lawmakers and deter the angry mob. The U.S. Capitol Police undoubtedly made mistakes yesterday, but it is an insult to the force and the 56 police officers who were injured to contend, as Harris does, that they “let extremists storm the United States Capitol.” The man who took the video that is being cited as evidence of police acquiescence says the police were backing up to a more secure position. “The rioters really did just completely outnumber the cops, there was not much anything they could do without manpower,” he told Newsweek.
In several circumstances, a dozen or so policemen faced a crowd of a thousand or more protesters-turned-rioters. The number of effective options in that circumstance are quite limited.
Our country got into this mess in part because of demagogic politicians who had no regard for the truth, and who were willing to lie in order to stir up fear and anger and divide people. We are heading into a new administration that apparently just wants to offer more of the same from the other side of the aisle.
Kamala Harris might have missed all of those videos from yesterday; if that is the case, she should avoid making sweeping conclusions about events until she has the full picture. If she did, then she has confirmed, once again, that she cares a lot more about political points and painting law enforcement as irredeemably racist than the truth. Either way, our country is in a bad enough situation as it is. We don’t need another rhetorical arsonist at work in Washington.