Comparison of policing during recent protests at Capitol and during summer 2020

BOSTON — The immediate response from police following the protests turned violent in Washington, D.C. is leading to criticism and comparison. Over the summer, the nation’s Capitol and many other cities were sites of peaceful social justice protects along with some that turned violent at night.

“When we compare how the protests were handled over the summer, Black Lives Matter protests versus what we saw yesterday we saw a police department that wasn’t prepared seemed to be more at one with the protesters not seeing them as somebody that needs to be feared,” said Jack McDevitt, director of the Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University.

McDevitt has studied police agencies for four decades.

Some of the questions relate to the way officers prepared for President Donald Trump’s rally, and the thousands of people in attendance prior to the riots.

“There was no reason not (to) believe that they would be needing a strong police presence before this event took place,” said McDevitt.

Rev. William Bodrick of Twelfth Baptist Church in Boston was bothered by the inaction of some Capitol Police and the racist symbols used during the siege.

“It was troubling to see the Confederate flags, it was troubling to see… the noose that was hung,” Bodrick said.

Monica Cannon-Grant, an activist who organized a large rally for social justice in June said her protesters were told not to bring backpacks or signs on sticks, whereas in Washington, weapons were found throughout the capitol grounds following the riots. She also said there was less hesitation to active the National Guard, during the summer.

“When we protest the National Guard is here before we show up,” said Cannon-Grant.

It was at least two hours before the National Guard was activated and arrived amid violence Wednesday.

McDevitt added that groups cannot be allowed to disrupt government in the way they did Wednesday and he has deep concerns that in some way, that will happen again on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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