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Brenda Lawrence calls for racial disparity investigation in police treatment of Capitol riots compared to BLM protests

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Posted at 4:29 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 18:40:39-05

(WXYZ) — Many questions have been left unanswered about Wednesday's violent riots at the U.S. Capitol.

However, many are asking one question: If those who stormed the federal building were Black or Brown, would the security response look different?

A quick search on social media shows the hashtag #DoubleStandard as folks compare the security response at the Black Lives Matter protests that took place in Washington D.C. last year to what unfolded at the Capitol.

"What we saw yesterday was not protests and they definitely were not Patriots," Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence said.

Lawrence said she feared for her life as the rioters stormed the building.

"The doors were locked. You can hear this mob just screaming and banging on the door."

Looking back at the footage, she wants to know how security was not prepared, especially after President Donald Trump had called for the protests.

“Million dollar question. Everybody knew that he was having this rally," she said. "We saw videos of Capitol Police moving barricades to let the mob in, taking selfies with people."

Lawrence said that if Black or Brown Americans breached security, there would have been a different outcome.

"There would have been dead bodies all over the capital."

Rev. Wendell Anthony of the NAACP's Detroit branch agreed and said recent history shows the difference between Black Lives Matter protests and the ones seen at the U.S. Capitol and in Lansing last year.

“This would never have been allowed to occur had these been Black or Brown people or Muslims or Asians," he said. "They would have been shot to death.”

Mark Fancher with the ACLU of Michigan spoke out last year when the armed protesters stormed the state Capitol, calling the security response an example of privilege.

"We don't have to speculate, the record is very clear," he said. "The white man with a gun is always regarded as a hero."

He said the set of beliefs for generations contribute to the racial injustice. Fancher believes if a Black person speaks out or is armed, even for self-defense, they are perceived differently.

“As someone who is a threat to the established order, someone who must be contained and controlled, regardless of their motivations," he said. "It really represents a reflection of our racial attitudes in this country."

Lawrence said she will be pushing for a full investigation and is unapologetic when it comes to putting a spotlight on the racial disparity when it comes to police treatment of protestors.