Response to the White Supremacist Coup

Police Accountability, Racial Justice, Voting Rights

Statement in Response to the White Supremacist Coup

Lawyers for Civil Rights Calls for Independent Investigation and Charges Against Lynch Mob

January 7, 2020

At Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR), we want everyone to sit with the discomfort of the deadly white supremacist insurrection at the Capitol. We cannot let this moment pass and simply move on to the next headline.

Since yesterday, many commentators have focused on how the attempted coup does not represent America or its values. These comments miss the mark. The brutality that unfolded at the Capitol is deeply rooted in uniquely American social and historical dynamics, particularly our history of Black subjugation and slavery, including segregation through Jim Crow and its legacy. The insurgency transpired the same day that Georgia elected its first Black senator. The siege of the Capitol is undoubtedly the byproduct of racialized violence in America. 

At LCR, we refuse to normalize white supremacy, and we urge everyone to engage in a profound reckoning — individually and collectively — starting around our dining room tables and in our workplaces

We urge government officials to call out this terrorist violence for what it represents, and to lead meaningfully from a place of rooting out systemic racism and furthering racial justice. A critical choice here is whether — and how — we will return to “normal.” At LCR, we know that this armed insurrection is a symptom of America’s “normal”. We all have critical choices here starting with the language we use to describe this attack on our democracy. We can choose to call this a “protest” or “terrorism”.  Our response and the language we use matter. 

Our future requires removing those responsible who have encouraged this lethal racial violence over the last four years, and especially since the November election. The Trump Administration and its troika must be subject to stringent accountability, including removal from office and positions of power. We also call for all lynch mob perpetrators to be immediately charged and held accountable through the criminal legal system. 

The conduct of the white supremacists terrorists cannot be separated from the muted government and law enforcement response. The police were at best passive bystanders to a coup — and at worst, active supporters. This, too, should come as no surprise when viewed in the context of the so-called “Blue Lives Matter” movement, and the disparate treatment that supporters of Black Lives Matters have faced in comparison to these right-wing terrorists. This amply demonstrates the racial problem with police and helps to explain the growing distrust between communities of color and law enforcement. 

LCR is calling for an independent investigation into the law enforcement practices deployed at the Capitol. LCR is filing public records requests to compel full disclosure of this information. If law enforcement agencies entangled in the Capitol coup fail to cooperate, we stand ready to take legal action to protect the dignity of our families and communities.  

As we continue experiencing overlapping and concurrent pandemics across public health, racialized police and mob violence, and economic inequities, it is critical for us to decide how we will overcome these profound challenges. We must all recommit to respecting and uplifting the lives, experiences, and voices of people of color and immigrants.