Regina King Reflects on Difference in Police Response to Black Lives Matter Protests Versus Capitol Riot

Elyse Dupre
·3 min read

Like many people, Regina King watched the Jan. 6th breach of the U.S. Capitol on the news in horror.

"I had to borrow a friend's Hulu Live account so that I could tune in," she said hours later during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. "You know, I tuned in to people with pitchforks and being escorted down the steps after protesting very calmly by police officers after they'd broken windows. Yeah, the Divided States of America."

During the interview, Jimmy Kimmel pointed out law enforcement's reaction "sure seemed different" compared to their response to the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington D.C. a few months ago. To which the actress agreed, "Yeah, well that's the point that I'm making. They were actually gently escorted down steps…No tear gas…It was, wow, quite the vision."

Back in June, demonstrators gathered across Washington D.C. to peacefully protest police brutality and racial injustice. Some protestors sat by the Lincoln Memorial as members of the National Guard lined the steps while other demonstrators marched near the White House and in Lafayette Square. As reported by CNN, police sprayed tear gas and fired rubber bullets at protestors to break up the crowd ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to St. John's Episcopal Church. The National Guard's Maj. Adam DeMarco later told lawmakers the demonstrators were "subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force."

Forbes, citing the Metropolitan Police Department, also reported 427 "unrest-related" arrests were made in Washington D.C. between May 30 and June 2, 2020.

Inspiring Moments from Black Lives Matter Protests

On Wednesday, hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol just as Congress was beginning the ceremonial count of the Electoral College votes to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win. Violence and chaos ensued: Barricades were broken, windows were destroyed and lawmakers were forced to be evacuated. Amid acts of domestic terrorism, Trump did not call in the National Guard until about two hours after the rioters entered the Capitol. According to CNN, four people died, including a woman who was shot by police. At least 52 arrests were made that day, 26 of which were made on Capitol grounds, per the outlet.

After the breach, Congress reconvened to formally confirm Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' victory. Trump, who has repeatedly made groundless claims of voter fraud, later expressed his disagreement over the election results but committed to an "orderly transition of power on January 20th."

Like King, several celebrities spoke out on Jan. 6. Karamo Brown wrote on Instagram, "If you have ever been confused about the term 'privilege' being used with respect to conversations about racial injustice, please refer to TODAY."

Added Tatyana Ali, "I am crying tears of rage as I watch how these people, who stormed the capital, r being treated w such care. These individuals will be free to leave after their siege. They have more rights than anyone else & just proved it. What more can they possibly have the gaul to ask for?"