On Thursday, writing for Slate, Aymann Ismail blasted Capitol Police leadership following the new watchdog report that revealed how, ahead of and during the Capitol insurrection, higher-ups ordered officers to stand down from their most effective riot control methods even as they pleaded for backup.
"I expected police in military gear and a response as aggressive as I've come to anticipate covering and observing protests over the past year, where a single water bottle thrown at a cop line can bring a volley of tear gas and percussion grenades in retaliation," wrote Ismail. But instead, "I'd never seen law enforcement show this level of restraint at any protest, much less a riot."
As Ismail noted, inspector general Michael Bolton "found that Capitol Police leadership dismissed threat assessments and forbid rank-and-file officers from appropriately responding to the threat" even though the agency's own intelligence noted that "Congress itself is the target on the 6th" and "Stop the Steal's propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike." The officers were told not to use stun grenades and were given faulty equipment, including shields that shattered on impact with rioters' weapons.
All of this, wrote Ismail, spoke to how the pro-Trump rioters were subject to a completely different standard of law enforcement than that brought to bear against Black Lives Matter protesters.
"I have no idea what was in the heart of the former police chief or his leadership, but his and others' actions seem to fit a pattern that any hyphenated American is very familiar with, the chasing of perceived threats and the abandoning of evidence-based policing based on stereotypes, or just plain racism," wrote Ismail. "Not only does that drive a dagger through a community's trust in law enforcement, but it's also proven to be an obstacle in hindering actual police work. As much as this new report reveals, it leaves a fuller institutional reckoning with what happened on Jan. 6 for another day."
You can read more here.