The jarring picture of a Capitol Police officer posing for selfies alongside violent rioters in last week’s deadly Capitol breach sums up in one photo what Northeastern criminal justice professor Rod K. Brunson has studied for decades.
“These images show us exactly who is perceived as dangerous in this country and who isn’t,” said Brunson, who has extensively researched Black men’s experiences with law enforcement in America.
Images of the angry, violent Trump-backers pouring through Capitol officers’ under-staffed barricades has quickly become another powerful example of disparity for the Black Lives Matter movement, said Brunson, especially when juxtaposed with photos of the police’s heavily-armed show of force during BLM protests last year.
“It all goes back to the history of this country and how that shaped the narrative around who to fear,” said Brunson. “Given the nature and extent of the violence vividly captured by journalists and bystanders, it makes sense that all Americans might question why those involved in these horrendously criminal acts could leave the U.S. Capitol building without being placed in handcuffs,” he added.