DC AG Racine: Equating BLM protests, Capitol siege ‘shocking and outrageous’

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine on Friday blasted disinformation being circulated about last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, calling efforts to equate BLM rallies to the pro-Trump mob siege of the U.S. Capitol “shocking and outrageous.”

“Another piece of disinformation that’s going out and, sadly, being repeated by elected officials, is this idea that, somehow, the violence that occurred in the summer around protests regarding racial justice and criminal justice, oftentimes termed, perhaps too categorically and generally, as the BLM protests, were more violent,” Racine said during a Voter Protection Program briefing call with reporters, which detailed their report about myths and facts in the 2020 election.

“And, somehow, that responsible people didn’t strike out and call out against the violence that did occur during those protests,” Racine said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

He said that the overwhelming majority of the protests regarding racial justice were nonviolent, but when there was property destruction or violence, elected officials made sure to not condone it.

“The attempt to equate what occurred on the Capitol to BLM protest is shocking and outrageous, particularly when one counters that with a visual image of the manner in which the president of the United States protected the White House against BLM protesters,” Racine said.

“And what we saw last week at the Capitol, which was obviously a scenario where the Capitol was not as well federally protected as it could be,” D.C.’s attorney general added.

In this June 1, 2020, photo, police stand in smoke as they clear the area Lafayette Park as demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd, near the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Racine said that D.C. police “did their job, and they did their job with without any fear or favor. They just enforce the law and tried as best they could, putting their bodies in the way of a violent mob to protect our democracy. I’m proud of police Chief Contee and his entire team for coming to the rescue of the United States Capitol.”

Acting D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said 56 of his officers “and counting” were hurt during the attack; one Capitol Police officer was killed. For comparison, 21 D.C. police officers were hurt over the course of 10 days during the summer BLM/George Floyd protests, and no officers died.

D.C. police officers have spoken about being stripped of their gear, beaten and hit with stun guns during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Racine said those involved in the siege would be held accountable.

“As the D.C. local prosecutor, we may not have the full range of jurisdiction as our federal counterparts, but we do have jurisdiction over offenses related to guns and ammunition that weren’t properly licensed or registered,” Racine said. “And we also have jurisdiction over a charge called ‘inciting violence,’ which of course means that we’re looking very carefully at all individuals who spoke and otherwise conducted themselves in ways that would meet the elements of the crime of inciting violence.”

“I’m compelled to remind us all that hate cannot defeat hate. Only love can do that, says Martin Luther King. And, of course, justice and accountability is a core American value. And before we move on, there must be justice and accountability,” he added.

Federal watchdogs launched a sweeping review Friday of how the FBI, the Pentagon and other law enforcement agencies responded to the riot, including whether there were failures in information sharing and other preparations that left the Capitol vulnerable.

Authorities also said that the mob of President Donald Trump supporters aimed to “capture and assassinate elected officials.”

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up