The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and the Center for Protest Law and Litigation are demanding a fully public investigation into the federal and local police planning and response to today’s events, and termination and prosecution of all officers and officials found to have condoned or colluded with the violent mob that attacked the Capitol today.
What happened at the nation’s Capitol today could only have occurred because law enforcement allowed it to happen. Far-right mobs smashed windows and doors, stormed the Capitol behind a traitorous, terrorist Confederate flag, and broke into the Senate chamber.
The images of police officers calmly allowing barricades open, letting the crowd enter, and taking selfies inside the building with those who have stormed it cannot go without investigation and penalty.
The police have all the weapons and tactics at the ready to keep the Capitol from being breached and they chose instead to fall back. In contrast, when it comes to actual First Amendment protected protest, our clients have been beaten, shot with projectile weapons, tear gassed, soaked in chemical weapons, kettled and subject to mass false arrest – for peacefully chanting and holding signs.
Law enforcement has not hesitated to use violent and maiming force against peaceful Black Lives Matter and social justice protesters, against Black and Brown communities in DC, while giving a pass to white supremacists – to such an extent that they could storm the nation’s Capitol building, terminate the operations of Congress and force elected officials to take shelter. And then be allowed to walk away free not subject to arrest.
The Capitol police have not hesitated to arrest people merely for peacefully protesting on Capitol steps. They have grabbed, tackled, and arrested anti-war activists who have dissented peacefully inside the building.
In 2007, the Capitol police arrested 200 anti-war activists, led by veterans, who sought to peacefully deliver a letter to the door of Congress. The police set up unlawful barricades and arrested everyone in outdoor areas normally open to the public. We successful defended activists at trial who were fully prosecuted for this peaceful, and lawful, action.
This is not a matter of the police being “unprepared.” In our many constitutional rights cases in DC we have obtained inter-agency planning documents and communications that are created in advance of all events in DC. There is a very regular procedure to pre-event planning among local and multiple federal law enforcement agencies. Moreover, in this instance, this mob was openly planning violence and bragging that they were smuggling guns to DC. No agency can claim to have been caught off-guard about this assault.
We cannot allow police personnel or officials to facilitate or condone mob violence and white supremacist activities, and in the absence of a fully transparent investigation resulting in accountability, these actions pose an ongoing threat to our democracy and our community.
This is why we are demanding a full and public investigation. This assault on the U.S. Capitol, incitement to violent sedition by a U.S. President, has been further aided and abetted by Congressional office holders as well as sworn law enforcement agents. They must be held fully accountable.