MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The president of the National Civil Rights Museum spoke with WREG on the unrest at the Capitol versus protests over the spring and summer for the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Americans watched live as a mob descended on the U.S. Capitol, making it inside and damaging property. Elected leaders there to fulfill their duties to uphold the Constitution were forced to evacuate.
“It was disgusting, it was shameful and shocking,” said Terri Freeman, president of the National Civil Rights Museum. “At the same time not surprising because the rhetoric that has been spouted and the encouragement that people were given.”
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Freeman compared the law enforcement response to the raid on the Capitol to protests we saw over the summer after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday had those who stormed the Capitol been part of Black Lives Matter, they would’ve been treated differently.
“For me and for many, many Black people, brown people and frankly for some white people, what we also saw on display yesterday was woeful unpreparedness for something what was known would be preparing,” Freeman said, “versus what we saw in the spring and summer, when people were peacefully protesting for a civil rights, stop killing us in the streets.”
Freeman acknowledges there were people that worked to create chaos after the peaceful protests were over.
“Absolutely there was and that is what law enforcement is supposed to do. They’re supposed to arrest people who create chaos. But we were talking about lives lost as compared to property damage, and there’s a big difference there,” Freeman said. “I’m not suggesting it’s right, but there’s certainly a big difference to murder somebody. What we saw yesterday didn’t have anything to do with people’s lives being lost. It had to do with how people felt. and it was an attack on the seat of government.”
She believes these events are a reminder to continue the struggle and the fight to ensure freedom for all.
Like many other high-ranking lawmakers, she’s calling for an investigation into Capitol police.