Memphis pastor, NCRM president note differences in police responses to Capitol riot and BLM protests

Memphis pastor, NCRM president note differences in police responses to Capitol riot and BLM protests

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Local leaders and activists are reacting to the insurrection that took place at the Capitol Wednesday.

National Civil Rights Museum President Terri Freeman believes everyone has a right to peacefully protest.

“Protest is a vehicle that can be used by any American citizen who wants their voice to be heard. It is not a tool for only Black people, it is not a tool for only white people,” Freeman said.

However, she says the insurrection that took place at the nation’s Capitol Wednesday was far from it.

“What we ended up with was a riotous mob that was basically attacking democracy,” said Freeman.

The United States Capitol Police chief released a statement Thursday saying rioters actively attacked officers with metal pipes, chemical irritants and other weapons.

Of the thousands participating, 14 were arrested at the Capitol, according to the USCP site.

Freeman says the unpreparedness of law enforcement for this planned event was “curious at best,” especially when compared to the protests in the spring and summer where demonstrators were met with riot gear.

“At a minimum we need to make sure that whatever tactics we are going to employ, need to be employed across the board,” Freeman said.

Memphis pastor raises concerns about differences in how protesters are handled

Reverend Dr. Earle Fisher, a local pastor and activist, says we need to ask ourselves why this happened.

“Black Live Matter protesters would not have gotten close to the chambers without shots being fired,” Fisher said.

He hopes Wednesday’s riots allow people who were dismissive about the inequitable treatment of local protests to gain new perspective.

“To see it happen on a national scale knowing that it has also happened locally is something that hits home in a way that is not something you want to wake up to every morning,” said Fisher.

He’s looking to lawmakers to create change.

“I want to see how elected officials vote now. That’s the only thing that matters to me. I don’t care about what they say, I care about what they vote for, I care about the policies they promote,” he said.

Fisher also says he’s calling on local leaders and pastors -- no matter race, religion or political party -- to get together and have a deep discussion about the issues at hand so hopefully in the future something doesn’t happen that leaves everyone asking, “How did we get here?”

He says he’s more than happy to be a part of that conversation.

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