Black Capitol police officers are very aware of the racism they say has been prevalent for years at the government building. The insurgency at the Capitol on Jan. 6 reinforced what they’ve known all along.
According to a ProPublica report, hundreds of Black officers have filed racial discrimination suits against the law enforcement agency since 2001. The agents alleged they endured significant abuse, like white colleagues calling some Black officers the n-word, hanging nooses in an officer’s locker and white officers, who had Black colleagues as friends, were called “FOGs,” or “friends of gangsters.”
These issues were also prominent during the Obama administration. Attorneys for the agency denied any wrongdoing occurred.
Black police officers were subjected to “unprovoked stops” from coworkers. One Capitol cop alleged a white officer audaciously told someone, “Obama monkey, go back to Africa.”
According to the report, a former chief attempted to bring some semblance of justice to the department. Kim Dine, who retired from the department after a three-year stint, inherited the bigoted department in 2012. In the interview, he spoke to having to address the department’s racially-charged environment. Dine implemented many firsts in the department, including hiring a Black woman to lead the diversity office, promoting a Black officer to the assistant chief position and creating a disciplinary panel with a Black female lead.
“There is a problem with racism in this country, in pretty much every establishment that exists,” said Dine told ProPublica. “You can always do more in retrospect.”
Although he made significant strides in the department, they didn’t help end racism in the agency.
As more information regarding the insurrection at the Capitol surfaces, Black officers are bravely coming forward to share their stories about what they feel was abandonment by the agency.
Former Capitol police officer Sharon Blackmon- Malloy was a 25-year veteran with the agency. She claimed she spent “decades trying to raise the alarm about what she saw as endemic racism within the force.”
“Nothing ever really was resolved. Congress turned a blind eye to racism on the Hill,” Blackmon-Malloy told ProPublica. “We got Jan. 6 because no one took us seriously.”
She retired as a lieutenant in 2007 and lead her own complaint against the department in 2001. The veteran officer now serves as the U.S. Capitol Black Police Association vice president, which held 16 demonstrations protesting alleged discrimination between 2013 and 2018.
According to BuzzFeed, two Black police officers alleged higher-ups left law enforcement agents unprepared and unguided for the deadly riot. They remained anonymous in fear of retaliation from the department.
A veteran on the force told Buzzfeed he received a tip from an acquaintance.
“I found out what they were planning when a friend of mine screenshot sent me an Instagram story from the Proud Boys saying, ‘We’re breaching the Capitol today, guys. I hope y’all ready,’” the officer told the publication.
The agent acknowledged that upper management told them to prepare for protesting, but they failed to warn them about the gravity of the insurgency brought on by Trump’s instigation.
One of the anonymous officers admitted thinking that Black protestors would not have been met with the same grace as the MAGA insurgents.
“If you’re going to treat a group of demonstrators for Black Lives Matter one way, then you should treat this group the same goddamn way. With this group, you were being kind and nice and letting them walk back out.,” the officer shared with BuzzFeed. “Some of them got arrested, but a lot of them didn’t. Everyone who came into that Capitol should have been arrested regardless if they didn’t take anything.”
The older of the two officers explained to Buzzfeed that he was exasperated and angry over the deadly insurgence. The Capitol Police department’s lack of urgency and response to the situation didn’t help. The devastated agent sobbed in the Rotunda of the Capitol.
“I sat down with one of my buddies, another Black guy, and tears just started streaming down my face,” he said. “I said, ‘What the f**k, man? Is this America? What the f**k just happened? I’m so sick and tired of this s**.’”
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