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Nat’l Police Assoc. slams Congress for investigating Jan. 6 Capitol storming but ‘ignoring’ 2020 riots

Police in Portland, Oregon respond to protests. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian/TNS)
July 29, 2021

The National Police Association (NPA) slammed Congress this week for the investigation into the January 6 Capitol Hill storming while “ignoring” the destructive riots that raged across the United States last year.

“There were at least 574 violent riots in 2020, and yet today’s Congressional hearings are focusing on only one riot, January 6th, 2021, and hearing testimony from only a few of the police officers involved,” association spokeswoman Betsy Brantner Smith told The Washington Times on Tuesday.

“Brave police officers attempted to defend stores, apartment buildings, churches, hotels, several of their own precincts and courthouses and even a Ronald McDonald House from looting, arson and vandalism,” she continued, noting several cases in which officers suffered “horrific” injuries, including one who was paralyzed.

The group’s statement comes on the same day four law enforcement officers testified to a House select committee regarding the January 6 Capitol storming in which demonstrators attempted to disrupt certification of Joe Biden as president.

Investigations from both the Senate and the House judiciary committees have been launched in the wake of the event. Congress has not investigated the 2020 riots, however, and Bratner Smith said the U.S. will continue seeing “unprecedented levels of gun violence” as a result.

“Politicizing one violent riot while ignoring hundreds of others, refusing to strongly denounce the ‘defund the police’ movement, and continuing to discuss ‘police reform’ instead of ‘criminal reform’ and ‘law and order’ will further embolden violent offenders and thrust this nation into unprecedented levels of gun violence,” she said.

Smith highlighted a July survey conducted by the NPA and Rasmussen Reports that found almost two-thirds of 996 voters polled said Congress should investigate the “574 protests that involved acts of violence, including assaults on police officers, looting and arson” in 2020.

“Criminals who have no reason to fear the police, the prosecutors or the justice system will continue their lawless behavior, and the poorest of Americans will be the ones who suffer the most,” she said.

The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), a professional organization of police leaders in the largest cities throughout the United States and Canada, released a report last October detailing the civil unrest that spread through MCCA members cities from May 25 to July 31, leading to 2,037 injured officers.

Of the 8,700 demonstrations, 574 were declared riots that included violence and other criminal activity. Ninety-four percent of major city police agencies dealt with a least one protest that included unlawful but non-violent acts, like disrupting a public roadway. For 79 percent of agencies, at least one demonstration involved violence, and about 72 percent reported officers harmed during protests.