Arrest of Armed White Woman In White House Barricade Incident Highlights Hypocrisy of Fatal Police Shooting of Miriam Carey

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Miriam Carey
Critics were quick to point out the leniency shown to Jessica Ford (left) compared to Miriam Carey, who was shot dead by police. (Images courtesy Metro Nashville Police Dept/ CNN)

The White House was placed on a temporary lockdown Friday after authorities say a Tennessee woman rammed her car into a nearby security barrier.

Secret Service officers arrested 35-year-old Jessica Ford at the scene after she drove her white Chevy van into the barricade at 17th Street NW and E Street near the White House, local station Fox 5 reported. Ford’s car didn’t breach the barrier, officials said.

No law enforcement officers were injured in the incident and there were no shots fired. The Secret Service confirmed, however, that this isn’t their first run-in with Ford near the White House that’s resulted in “numerous arrests for a variety of criminal violations.”

“The female was again charged today with numerous criminal violations and transported to the Metropolitan Police Department,” the agency said in a news release.

A police report of the incident showed that Ford struck the barricade around 2:45 p.m. and continued to try and accelerate before police managed to pull her through the driver’s side window and arrest her. It was later revealed that she was also armed with a pistol, pointing it in the opposite direction of authorities while she was still behind the wheel.

Officers were forced to snatch the gun from Ford after she refused to comply with their demands, the station reported.

Details of Ford’s arrest didn’t sit well with critics, however, who pointed to the hypocrisy and alleged bias behind the 2013 police shooting of dental hygienist Miriam Carey. Carey, who was African–American, was fatally shot by officers after making a U–turn at a White House security checkpoint, striking a Secret Service agent who was trying to place a blockade in her path.

Authorities claimed Carey, who was traveling with her daughter, led them on a high-speed chase toward the Capitol before security stopped her at Garfield Circle, according to CNN. She then put her car in reverse, hitting a police cruiser as she drove away, they said. That’s when officers began firing.

Police continued firing even after Carey had crashed her car into a barricade, killing her. An autopsy report released six months after her death showed she was struck by five bullets from behind. Attorney Eric Sanders, who represented the woman’s family in a wrongful death suit against the government, argued that the autopsy proved the shooting was unjustified.

Many, including Carey’s sister, were quick to point out the leniency granted to Ford, who was armed with a gun and refused officer’s commands, compared to Carey.

Ford now faces eight charges that include unlawful entry, carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and aggravated assault on a police officer, among other offenses.

She was due back in court on Sunday.

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