Election 2020

Philly on Capitol insurrection response: We saw more cops during summer protests

Law enforcement in the nation’s capitol was not quick to deploy extreme crowd control tactics.

Insurrectionists supporting President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday

Insurrectionists supporting President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday

AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana

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As the nation watched pro-Trump agitators storm the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, observers asked why law enforcement hadn’t stopped the insurrection sooner. People noted the stark contrast in police presence and handling of this illegal breach compared to other protests this year.

In Philadelphia, many people drew contrasts to the Philadelphia Police Department’s response to Black Lives Matter protests this summer, which saw far larger deployments of police officers, tear gas and the use of rubber bullets.

The mob at the legislative chamber also paled in comparison to crowds at numerous other demonstrations, both in D.C. and in cities like Philadelphia, and yet law enforcement proved easily overwhelmed.

The breach followed an inflammatory speech by President Trump in which he again falsely claimed to have won the election. Trump only deployed the National Guard to protect the Capitol building hours after the chaos and violence erupted. Reports indicated some protesters were able to leisurely walk the halls of the building without police interference.

CNN reported one woman was shot during the violence and remains in critical condition, though details were limited.

Here’s what Philly was saying as the city watched an insurrection unfold.

“I had more National Guard two blocks from my home in Philly during the protests after George Floyd’s death than I see today at the Capitol,” tweeted Karen Bennett, whose Twitter bio lists her as a freelance writer. “This is horrific.”

Food writer Kae Lani Palmisano also contrasted the police response to violent insurgents in D.C. with the subdued PPD response to armed men in Fishtown last summer.

Philly resident Malcolm Nance, a U.S. Intelligence expert and contributor, called the Justice Department’s initial refusal to deploy the National Guard “seditious.”

Inquirer food editor Jamila Robinson commented on the amount of scrutiny she faces from federal agents while traveling as a Black woman.

Northwest Philly Councilmember Cherelle Parker called the scene “traitorous and unacceptable.”

Pa. Rep. Jordan Harris asked for the insurrection to be taken seriously. “This is not a ‘knock it off’ moment,” he said. “These actions are acts against this country.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, who condemned his party’s decision to oppose the electoral count, calls the chaos at the Capitol “an absolute disgrace” — but also wants you to know that he’s safe.

Philadelphia government relations specialist Mustafa Rashed compared the situation to Venezuela, which has seen multiple coup attempts in recent years.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers, preparing for a game versus Washington, commented on the apparent disparity of the police response.