Two Black U.S. Capitol police officers said they endured racist remarks from pro-Donald Trump supporters during last week's failed insurrection attempt.
Speaking with BuzzFeed, the Capitol police officers asked to remain anonymous for their safety. Five deaths were linked to the riots, including a USCP officer who was reportedly wounded during the violent mob at the Capitol.
The failed insurrection unfolded last Wednesday after Trump, 74, delivered a disgruntled speech over his 2020 election loss and encouraged his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol building, where lawmakers were ratifying the results.
After hours of fighting off the pro-Trump rioters, the older of the two officers told Buzzfeed that he broke down in tears in the Capitol rotunda. He yelled out, "I got called a n—– 15 times today," and told those around him: "Trump did this and we got all of these f—ing people in our department that voted for him. How the f— can you support him?"
Some of the most harrowing images of the day included pro-Trump supporters carrying Confederate flags, including one inside the U.S. Capitol building. Other images included a video of a lone Black officer holding off a crowd of mostly white rioters and redirecting them away from the entrance to the Senate floor, where lawmakers were reportedly still inside.
Since Wednesday, congressional lawmakers, former Capitol police officials, and current officers have all criticized the USCP for not properly preparing for potential violence — despite Trump repeatedly encouraging his supporters to gather that day, telling them: "Be there, will be wild!"
USCP police chief Steven Sund announced his resignation the next day, as some lawmakers called for widespread investigations into the police's planning and their handling of the mob.
"There was a failure of leadership at the top of the Capitol Police," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters last week.
The Black Lives Matter movement was among those to speak out about the stark differences in how the mostly white pro-Trump rioters were treated by law enforcement compared to the police response to peaceful protests in Washington, D.C., last summer.
"When Black people protest for our lives, we are met by National Guard troops or police equipped with assault rifles, tear gas and battle helmets. When white people attempt a coup, they are met by an underwhelming number of law enforcement personnel who act powerless to intervene," the official Black Lives Matter Twitter account tweeted last week.
Tim Hall, a member of the Washington, D.C., Black Lives Matter movement, told PEOPLE last week that the recent police response was drastically different than the response during demonstrations against racial injustice last summer, in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.
"[Police] were trying to stand their ground, but the amount of effort and pushback that they gave us for protesting for the Black Lives Matter cause, that was not there," Hall said. "They were just treating them like they were kids throwing a tantrum."
One of the officers who spoke with BuzzFeed was also critical of the differences he saw, adding that he felt most hurt over a widely shared video on social media showing a white colleague taking a selfie with the pro-Trump rioters.
"That one hurt me the most because I was on the other side of the Capitol getting my ass kicked," the officer told the outlet, adding, "If you're going to treat a group of demonstrators for Black Lives Matters one way, then you should treat this group the same god—- way."
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