Struck by the difference in how the police responded to Black Lives Matter protests vs. right wing protests over the summer, a group called Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project has been trying to put together data:
Between May 1 and November 28, 2020, authorities were more than twice as likely to attempt to break up and disperse a left-wing protest than a right-wing one. And in those situations when law enforcement chose to intervene, they were more likely to use force — 34 percent of the time with right-wing protests compared with 51 percent of the time for the left. Given when this data was collected, it predominantly reflects a difference in how police respond to Black Lives Matter, compared with how they respond to anti-mask demonstrations, pro-Trump extremists, QAnon rallies, and militia groups.Nobody is surprised about this. I would note, though, that these are statistical, not absolute differences. That supports what I believe, which is that the American police are far from unified in their politics. They tend right-wing but they include diverse people and personalities, including some who are genuinely working for peace and some who hate disorder of any sort and are just as happy to slug a right-wing punk as a left-wing punk. The same goes for the general tone of particular police forces.
The differences in intervention weren’t because BLM protests were particularly violent. ACLED found that 93 percent of the protests associated with BLM were entirely peaceful. “Even if we were to put those 7 percent of demonstrations aside and look purely at peaceful [BLM protests], we are seeing a more heavy handed response,” Kishi said.
You saw this in the mob attack on the Capitol. While some police were taking selfies with rioters, others shot and killed one of them. I think it is certainly true that police leadership grossly underestimated the violent potential of a Trump-inspired mob and would have prepared differently for a BLM rally. But it is not true that the Capitol Police as a group failed to oppose the attack on the building. Some tried, but they were undermined by bad leadership and, it seem, traitorous behavior by some of their number.
On a related topic: If you have ever worked with the Federal security forces and know how seriously they take their jobs, you already know what is coming: the Secret Service, FBI, and federal prosecutors are going to throw the book at every person they can identify who crossed the barrier around the Capitol, and within a few months some people who were shocked by the riot are going to be shocked by the severity of the response.