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Hoosiers question law-enforcement response to US Capitol protests

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With all eyes on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, many took notice at how some protestors were treated.

People around the country asked: Had the crowd been predominately Black, would there have been a bigger law-enforcement response?

Protests are something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in Indianapolis and around the country. Many of them center around racial injustice and inequities.

Local community members say what people saw at the Capitol is evidence of the unfair treatment Black and brown people have been talking about for generations. Protestors converged on the home of American government. They stormed the Capitol by the dozens. Even with lawmakers hunkered down for safety and police around, many roamed freely.

“It’s much different than the scenes you saw this summer when we had protest around a Black Lives Matter, how law enforcement treated those that was from the Black community,” said the Rev. Charles Harrison with Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition.

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During major events, Harrison said it’s easy to find the similarities, but the differences for some stand out, particularly as it relates to police action or inaction.

“We’re shocked and stunned by what we saw yesterday, but when you started watching how people were being treated you could not help but to make the comparisons,” Harrison said.

In Indianapolis, some of the peaceful protest calling for racial injustice were answered with massive police presence. It was a different situation as the city saw protests about the mask mandate at the Statehouse and protests outside the Governor’s Mansion for the stay-at-home order.

“It makes me angry. During the protest this summer when we stood up to protest peacefully, we had law enforcement enclose on us,” said James Wilson with Circle Up Indy. “And they started shooting paintballs and Mace and everything else at us and we weren’t even breaking anything. Yeah, you have a law enforcement opening up the doors for different cultures.”

Wilson participated in some of the protests this summer and watched as the group never reached the Statehouse steps because they were met well before then by armed law enforcement.

“What they did was expose the hand of what still exist in our country, that cultural and racial division, that divide,” he said.

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