As insurrectionists broke into the U.S. Capitol building, Black Capitol police officers faced racial abuse and violence while their superiors were nowhere to be found.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News published on Saturday (Jan. 9), two Black Capitol police officers described the horror of taking on a trove of rioters who treated the cops as if they were enemies. The officers had to defend the Capitol building and everyone in it while rioters, including fellow police officers from out-of-state, called them the n-word and physically assaulted them. Meanwhile, their bosses were inaccessible when the officers needed their guidance and direction.
WATCH: The moment when protesters first got into the U.S. Capitol building from the first floor and made their way outside the Senate chamber. ( : Huffington Post/@igorbobic) pic.twitter.com/CkAVexDtkf— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 6, 2021
“You have the nerve to be holding a Blue Lives Matter flag, and you are out there fucking us up,” one officer said about one group of rioters he encountered inside the Capitol. “[One guy] pulled out his badge and he said, ‘We’re doing this for you.’ Another guy had his badge. So I was like, ‘Well, you gotta be kidding.’”
The officers, who remained anonymous out of fear that their higher-ups will retaliate, also spoke out about how unprepared the officers, in general, were for the event. According to them, their bosses downplayed the “protest” by preparing for it “like they would for any other protest.” Officers were given gas masks prior to the event, but their bosses didn’t instruct them to bring the masks that day.
“Our chief was nowhere to be found, I didn’t hear him on the radio,” the Black officer said. “One of our other deputy chiefs was not there. You don’t think it’s all hands on deck?”
What hurt one Black Capitol police officer the most was seeing videos of their own colleagues becoming friendly with the rioters. The viral video of one Capitol police officer taking a selfie with a rioter, who had just infiltrated the building along with other rioters carrying Confederate flags, made the Black officer furious.
“That one hurt me the most because I was on the other side of the Capitol getting my ass kicked,” he said.
The Capitol police chief Steven Sund turned in his letter of resignation in the days after the riots, but the Black officers think more reform is needed. The FBI is also currently investigating whether the insurrection that happened at the U.S. Capitol was an inside job.