Local leaders comment on treatment of Capitol rioters
Ariél Zangla is reporting for the Daily Freeman after the Capitol riot this week, local leaders see obvious differences in how black and white protesters were treated. "It was immediately clear how unjust ... the law-enforcement reaction was to those Black Lives Matter demonstrators," the Rev. G. Modele Clarke said. "People who were protesting the criminal justice system in this country, trying to shed some light on the fact that black men, women and children were being killed by law enforcement at a disproportionate rate to their white counterparts ... were treated as insurrectionists." When Clarke saw what was happening at the Capitol this week, he could not believe his eyes, he said. The Rev. James Childs, senior pastor at Pointe of Praise Family Life Center in Kingston said, "...[S]omehow, African Americans are seen as more dangerous than whites, regardless [of] what their intents are." He also noted that the way law enforcement reacted at the Capitol clearly shows that officers can restrain themselves, even under pressure. Alim Flowers, lead organizer for Citizen Action of New York's Hudson Valley Chapter, also noted the difference in treatment. He said there were videos of law enforcement letting the crowd through into the building and of people taking selfies inside the building. The protesters in Washington, D.C., were rioting over a lost election, while the Black Lives Matter marchers were protesting the police killing of George Floyd, Flowers noted. "That, to me, is just really disgusting, and it hurts me," Flowers said. "It hurts me and makes me sad to see that's going on in America still." Kingston Alderperson Rita Worthington said it is no secret there have been longstanding disparities in the way blacks and other people of color are treated compared their white counterparts. "...[T]he fact that you have asked the three people of color on the Common Council for a response to the shameful and embarrassing act that the whole world witnessed clearly demonstrates that there clearly is a difference," Worthington said. Worthington's colleague, Alderperson Tony Davis, concurred, pointing out that rioters at the Capitol were escorted out of the building while Black Lives Matter demonstrators have been tackled and beaten with billy clubs. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson Executive Director Jonathan Bix said it was outrageous that more than 14,000 people were arrested for protesting Floyd's killing while fewer than 100 people were arrested for storming the Capitol. Donald Mapes, the newest member of the city of Kingston's Board of Police Commissioners and a pastor with River of Life Ministries, said he believes there will be repercussions for the event this week. He also said people would have to be blind not to see the racial biases in the country. Read more in the Daily Freeman.