The first glimpse of the deadly tragedy that was about to unfold came at 9 a.m. on the morning of the insurrection for one Black veteran of the US Capitol Police. But it didn’t come from his superiors — instead the officer had to rely on a screenshot from Instagram sent to him by a friend.
..Management’s inaction left Black police officers especially vulnerable.
…Black officers who described a harrowing day in which they were forced to endure racist abuse — including repeatedly being called the n-word — as they tried to do their job of protecting the Capitol building, and by extension the very functioning of American democracy. The officers said they were wrong-footed, fighting off an invading force that their managers had downplayed and not prepared them for. They had all been issued gas masks, for example, but management didn’t tell them to bring them in on the day.
…“That was a heavily trained group of militia terrorists that attacked us,” said the officer, who has been with the department for more than a decade. “They had radios, we found them, they had two-way communicators and earpieces. They had bear spray. They had flash bangs … They were prepared. They strategically put two IEDs, pipe bombs, in two different locations.”
…The officer even described coming face-to-face with police officers from across the country in the mob. He said some of them flashed their badges, telling him to let them through, and trying to explain that this was all part of a movement that was supposed to help.
“You have the nerve to be holding a Blue Lives Matter flag, and you are out there fucking us up,” he told one group of protesters he encountered inside the Capitol. “[One guy] pulled out his badge and he said, ‘We’re doing this for you.’ “
…On the steps to the Rotunda on the east side of the Capitol, he was engaged in hand-to-hand battles trying to fight the attackers off. But he said they were outnumbered 10 to 1, and described extraordinary scenes in which protesters holding Blue Lives Matter flags launched themselves at police officers.
…“They’re telling us they are on our side, and they’re doing this for us, and they’re saying this as I’m getting punched in my face by one of them … That happened to a lot of us. We were getting pepper-sprayed in the face by those …domestic terrorists,” said the officer.
…“Our chief was nowhere to be found, I didn’t hear him on the radio. One of our other deputy chiefs was not there,” he said. “You don’t think it’s all hands on deck?”
…“I got called a nigger 15 times today,” the veteran officer shouted in the Rotunda to no one in particular. “Trump did this and we got all of these fucking people in our department that voted for him. How the fuck can you support him?”