One aspect of the November 6 insurrection I want to explore a bit is the role of law enforcement. There were cops on both sides.
Several of the Capitol cops took a real beating at the hands of the mob. One was killed. The story in common circulation is that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick’s head was bashed in with a fire extinguisher, although I notice major media hasn’t corroborated that.
The Washington Post reported that more than 58 D.C. police officers and an unknown number of U.S. Capitol Police officers were injured defending the Capitol building and the legislators:
An officer was hit with a bat. Another was struck with a flagpole. A third was pinned against a statue. A fourth was clobbered with a wrench. One became stuck between two doors amid a frenzied mob. Many were hit with bear spray. …
…How those injuries occurred is varied: pushed down stairs, trampled by rioters, run over in a stampede, punched with fists. …
… Videos circulating on the Internet show horrific scenes, including one of an officer, identified by the police union as from the D.C. force, being dragged down stairs outside the Capitol and beaten by people with clubs, a crutch and a pole with an American flag attached. The officer was rescued by other officers swinging batons.
Do read this whole story. Some really horrific stuff happened. It’s a wonder more of the LEOs weren’t killed or seriously injured by the mob. I also get the impression from this article that the DC police got the worst of it, although it may be that the reporter got more details from the DC police.
The Hill reports that a retired firefighter, 55-year-old Robert Sanford of Chester, Pa., has been arrested for throwing a fire extinguisher at police officers. This charge is not connected to Brian Sicknick’s death, the article says.
In the footage, according to the court documents, the fire extinguisher can be seen hitting one officer wearing a helmet before it ricochets and strikes an officer without a helmet. The object then ricochets again and strikes a third officer in the head. That officer was wearing a helmet.
Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman is being hailed as a hero for leading rioters up a flight of stairs away from the Senate chamber. However, TPM reports that two Capitol cops have been suspended. One was taking selfies with the insurrectionists; another put on a MAGA hat and was giving the mob directions. At least ten other Capitol cops are under investigation.
TPM also reports that cops from around the country showed up to cheer for Donald Trump and march to the Capitol. Their departments are investigating them. Two cops from Virginia were arrested and charged by the Justice Department with violent entry on Capitol grounds and unlawfully entering restricted areas. A Houston cop resigned. Others are still being investigated.
In short, there were police doing their jobs to defend the Capitol, and there were police in the mob committing sedition. This morning I saw a right-wing columnist accusing “the Left” of hypocrisy for concern over the death of Brian Sicknick. We’re supposed to hate cops, you know. But in truth we tend to focus on cops who unjustifiably kill Black people and escape accountability for it, which happens all too often. Sicknick, widely reported to have been a Trump supporter, was killed by Trump supporters while doing his duty.
That’s different. And I won’t comment further about who the real hypocrites are here.
See also Steve M, Everything Is Liberals’ Fault, Part MCMLXXVIII