From the tangled skein of video evidence, sewn together with supposition, House Democrats are knitting together a theory that there was collusion between rioters who ran amok Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Police.
Even though one member of the Capitol Police was killed in the unequal struggle between officers and rioters, Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada has claimed the rioting might have been “an inside job,” according to Politico, which cited as its source “two lawmakers” it did not name, who participated in a 3.5-hour conference call Friday.
Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez of California raised the issue of collusion between the Capitol Police and the rioters.
Suspicion that there was a method to the madness of the rioting was expressed by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who said Friday that rioters never would have found his office unless they were looking for it.
“I do believe that something was going on,” Clyburn said, according to CBS. “They knew where to go. I’ve been told … by some other Congress people that their staff are saying that they saw people being allowed into the building through side doors.
“Who opened those side doors for these protesters, or I call them these mobsters, to come into the building, not through the main entrance where magnetometers are but through side doors. Yes, somebody on the inside of those buildings were complicit in this,” he said.
Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington agreed.
“I am very sad to say that I believe that there were people within the Capitol Police and within the Capitol building that were part of helping these insurrectionists to really have a very well-coordinated plan for when they were going to come, how they were going to come,” Jayapal said in an interview taped for Sunday release.
Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California voiced the question of whether there had been “certain kinds of infiltration.”
Although some video evidence showed Capitol Police battling protesters, other videos showed the police taking selfies as rioters trooped through the building.
A report in The New York Times that sought to capture the dichotomy of rioters out to wreak havoc and others who seemed in awe of where they had found themselves, said one rioter asked and was given directions of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office.
The variety of responses demands an investigation, said Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, according to The Hill.
“I saw those videos. So like I said, you had people fighting their hearts out getting hit over the head with a lead pipe, and you had people letting people in and moving those silver barriers that were there. And then you had others taking selfies with these terrorists,” Ryan said.
He added he is seeking all departmental communications during the riots to determine if officers helped rioters.
To some, the issue goes no deeper than skin color.
“If the ‘protesters’ were black they would have been shot with rubber bullets, tear gassed and killed,” said Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, according to Politico.
“Police do not take white, right-wing protesters as seriously and they don’t treat them as a threat in the way they treat African Americans, Latinos and other groups,” said Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas.
Writing in The Atlantic, Kellie Carter Jackson, an assistant professor of Africana studies at Wellesley College, said the police response was “an expression of white supremacy,” saying that even though 50 officers were injured, many officers responded with “immense restraint or full capitulation.”
“This was not an uprising against a tyrannical government; it was an uprising against a multicultural government. And the police reaction — calm, measured, tolerant — to that uprising suggests that when it comes to engaging in violence against the state, white perpetrators have nothing to lose,” she wrote.
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