• U.S. Capitol police officers tolerated MAGA rioters
  • Pence condemned the protest and called it a "dark day" in U.S. Capitol history
  • Videos of the incident showed officers assisting and taking photographs with Trump supporters

Police officers at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday showed a much more subdued response to rioters who breached the building and stormed the U.S. House chambers, a stark difference from the Black Lives Matters rallies this summer.

A violent mob of mostly white Trump supporters marched to the Capitol grounds and pushed past security as Congress was in the process of certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win. But unlike police response to the BLM movement, the insurrectionists reportedly faced little resistance from law enforcement officers.

The lack of police response allowed protesters to freely roam through the Capitol and the Senate chamber, prompting lawmakers and staffers to hunker down.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence spoke to Congress hours after the incident where he condemned the act as "a dark day" in Capitol history.

“We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms. We will always be grateful to the men and women who stayed at their posts to defend this historic place. To those who wreaked havoc in our capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s House," Pence said.

Civil rights leaders slammed law enforcement agencies for their slow response to the incident. They also noted the overwhelming police force during the mostly peaceful BLM demonstrations in 2020.

“When Black folks are protesting and progressives are protesting peacefully they were tear-gassed, they were arrested, they were shot with rubber bullets. They were shot with real bullets,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said.

Observers took to social media to note the difference in police response to the rallies. In one video, officers were seen kicking, pushing or shooting at BLM protesters, while authorities at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday were seen interacting and assisting MAGA supporters down the steps of the building.

The NAACP also posted a video on its Twitter account that showed a Capitol police officer being recorded while taking a selfie with a MAGA supporter.

Retired professional basketball player Rex Chapman accused police officers of having “double standards” after military helicopters were noticeably absent as protesters took over the Capitol.

“It’s weird there’s no low flying military helicopters over DC to break up the crowds tonight like during the BLM protests. It’s almost like there’s a double standard for White Domestic Terrorists trying to take over the U.S. Capitol Building,” he wrote.

Shomari Stone, a reporter, took to social media to share a video that showed a mob of Trump supporters swarming and destroying the equipment of reporters present at the scene. The protesters were also heard echoing the president’s words: “The media is the enemy of the people.”

In another video uploaded by American actress Olivia Munn, police at the Capitol complex were seen engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the protesters. During the BLM demonstrations, law enforcement agencies used rubber bullets and tear gas against protesters. Tear gas was also used by police on Wednesday during the rioting at the Capitol, but only when the protestors had breached the Capitol building.

“These guys are engaging in hand-to-hand combat with police after storming the US Capitol. In other news, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Rayshard Brooks, Aura Rosser, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling and Eric Garner are all dead,” Munn wrote.

Protesters stormed the US Capitol in Washington, disrupting a joint session of Congress that would certify Joe Biden's election win
Protesters stormed the US Capitol in Washington, disrupting a joint session of Congress that would certify Joe Biden's election win AFP / ROBERTO SCHMIDT