MSNBC's Chris Hayes reported Wednesday that the differences between the police response to the one-day riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 were a stark contrast to their reaction to the 100 plus days of rioting and protests that happened in the summer of 2020.
While the one-day riot saw officers take the life of protestor Ashli Babbitt, and no charges were filed in her death, and the protests and riots over the summer did not result lost lives at the hands of officers, Hayes declared that police were much less violent to the Jan. 6 protestors than those who rioted for months.
In his analysis, Hayes failed to take into consideration the widespread violence sparked by last summer's protests.
"It is very hard not to see some fundamental contradictions in how our country, the state, wields force against its citizens. In terms of who has authority, and who defers to whom in a police encounter, and who, in the end, fears who," said Hayes.
In reference to Daunte Wright, who was killed by former Brooklyn City police officer Kim Potter on Sunday, he called the way Wright was treated "fundamentally invasive to his dignity. What former Brooklyn City Police Chief said was Wright attempting to re-enter his car to run away, Hayes called an attempt to get out of that invasive situation.
"Daunte Wright was treated roughly, manhandled a bit. He was handcuffed. He was ordered around like a supplicant in a way that is fundamentally invasive to his dignity. It's not enjoyable if you've ever been on the other end of that kind of interaction. When he attempted to get out of that situation, he was shot, killed, at point blank range by an officer who says she mistook her gun for a taser."
The one video example of a protest used during the segment was of a violin vigil held last summer in memory of Elijah McClain, who was killed in 2019. In what Hayes calls an "Enormous shows of police force," Aurora, Colorado police show up in full riot gear, and proceed to disperse the crowds with pepper spray. What Hayes fails to show though, is the countless other protests across the country that ended in millions upon millions of dollars in property damages and injuries.
"And it is true, we should be clear, that there are examples, they're documented, you can find video, of the violence by those and other protestors, examples of lawlessness and property damage throughout the country in the context of tens of thousands of protestors," says Hayes. "But in the context of tens of thousands of protests and millions and millions of protestors, only a very small percentage of people were violent. And yet, the police prepare and prepare and prepare for those protests like they were going to war," said Hayes.
In what Hayes calls an "utter inversion," he pivots to the police response on January 6 at Capitol Hill. Saying that he has covered DC protests before, Hayes said that police presence that day was severely lacking, later to tell that Capitol Police was warned and subsequently ignored the warning that the Capitol was the main target on January 6, resulting in the few officers left to fend for themselves.
"The overwhelmingly white mob telling the cops what to do, barking orders at them. It is the mob with the authority." Said Hayes, contrasting with summer protests where police were in charge.
In a clip shot in the Senate chamber, a Capitol Hill police officer asks some of the rioters to leave. Hayes uses the clip as a contrast to how police were treating the Capitol Hill rioters, where the police were dangerously outnumbered.
"Is there any chance I can get you guys to leave the senate wing?" said the officer.
"We will, I'm making sure they ain't disrespecting the place," replies one of the men that broke in.
"Okay, just want to let you guys know that this is, like, the most sacredest place," the officer responds.
Hayes said that if the same tactics used on those killed by police last year, a "massacre" would've happened at the Capitol. He fails to mention, though, that in theory this tactic would also be brought upon the millions of protestors that ended up at protests-turned-riots last summer, and as similarly to the crowds at the Capitol, most attendees were nonviolent.
"If those conceptions of fear and authority, of domination and subservience, if those had applied to Daunte Wright and George Floyd and millions of people of color who have dealt with police encounters, imagine if that had been brought to bear on that crowd at the Capitol? It would've been a massacre,"
Blaming race based suspicions, Hayes called the concepts of who is a criminal, who needs to be managed and controlled so deeply entrenched in American law enforcement that you cannot separate them apart.
"And that is because of the racialize suspicion that's the heart of the whole thing. The conception of who's a criminal, and the conception of who is a threat, the conception of who will transgress the order, who needs to be managed and controlled is so deeply embedded in both American society and law enforcement you cannot separate race from that in the context of American law and order and police.