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Video shows stark differences between how police treated pro-Trump mob at Capitol, Black Lives Matter protesters

8 months 1 week 1 day ago Friday, January 08 2021 Jan 8, 2021 January 08, 2021 6:08 AM January 08, 2021 in News - Local

When a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, the images struck Nathaniel Mata.

Mata, who lives in Mission, said he remembered how forcefully police responded to Black Lives Matter protests last year. At the Capitol, though, police officers exercised restraint — and, in one instance, an officer appeared to take a photo with a person who illegally entered the building.

"I guess it says a lot about — maybe not so much white lives — but Black lives and the disposability of them," Mata said. "And that's just really painful."

One Capitol police officer was killed. Police also shot and killed a pro-Trump protester from San Diego after she entered the Capitol building.

Gordon A. Crews, the chairman of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, noted the sharply different police response.

"They're basically helping the elderly down the stairs yesterday to leave the trespassing inside the Capitol," Crews said during an interview on Thursday. "And during the Black Lives Matter protests, those same individuals that were elderly were actually getting shoved in the chest and hit. Knocked on the ground."

Along with race, Crews said law enforcement coordination and jurisdictions may also have played a role in the different response.

The Capitol police handle the building itself, but the surrounding area is patrolled by the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C.

President Donald J. Trump also delayed calling the National Guard for hours, which slowed the federal response.

Mata said the difference between how police treated the violent pro-Trump mob and Black Lives Matter protesters showed problems with law enforcement.

"I don't want to wish harm on these people," Mata said. "I just wish there was more equity in policing and more equity in the justice system."

Correction: This story incorrectly identified Gordon A. Crews. He is a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, not South Texas College.

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