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‘We All Know That’s True’: Former Head of National Guard Says If Capitol Rioters Were Black, They Would’ve Been Met with ‘Deadly Force’

The man who served as the head of the D.C. National Guard during the Jan. 6 insurrection said law enforcement’s response to the predominately white rioters would have been a lot different if the demonstrators were African-American.  

The highly decorated commanding general, who once served as DEA special agent and has spent his entire career in law enforcement, believes race would have caused officers to use deadly force faster and more people would have died.

Days before the 2022 Christmas holiday, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol released testimony from various personnel within law enforcement regarding the Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Maj. Gen. William J. Walker was one who testified.

Major General William J. Walker, Commanding General District of Columbia National Guard, testifies at a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs/Rules and Administration Committee hearing March 3, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee is scheduled to hear testimony about DHS, FBI, National Guard and Department of Defense support and response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. (Photos by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images/Twitter/Pip/Trom)

Walker, who currently serves as the first Black House sergeant at arms and the 38th person in that position since the House of Representatives first met in New York City in 1789, told the congressional investigators in his professional opinion, officers would not have been as relaxed with Black people, noting how just the year prior how aggressive many of the same officers were to Black Lives Matter protesting during the 2020 summer of civil unrest prompted by the death of George Floyd.

“I’m African-American. Child of the ’60s. I think it would have been a vastly different response if those were African-Americans trying to breach the Capitol. As a career law enforcement officer, part-time soldier, last five years full but, but a law enforcement officer my entire career, the law enforcement response would have been different,” Walker explained.

According to the Chicago native, during the Capitol insurrection, he saw “enough” lawlessness that he would have “probably” used deadly force on the rioters if he had been policing them.

However, since the D.C. National Guard was not authorized to assist during the Capitol takeover until 3 hours and 19 minutes after the melee started to get out of hand, he sat and watched in horror like many other Americans.

The committee noted in its final report on the events of Jan. 6 that the hesitation in activating the D.C. National Guard was “likely miscommunication between members of the civilian leadership in the Department of Defense.”

Still, other critics like President Joe Biden and his granddaughter believed the lax security was rooted in deep-seated white supremacy intrinsic in how we view protestors, demonstrators, and rioters, who not just wanted to voice their opinion but stop the democratic process.

NBC News reported Biden spoke to his granddaughter via text immediately after the riot. She was the first to point out how the synthesis of race and law enforcement affects outcomes when she analyzed what happened at the Capitol that day.

“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently from the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” Biden quoted her as saying before adding, “We all know that’s true. And it’s unacceptable.”

Walker concurred with those views in his remarks to the committee about that day. He said, “I think it would have been more bloodshed if the composition would have been different,” adding later on in his testimony, “I personally, William Joseph Walker, not General Walker, thought that it was just vastly different [than how law enforcement treated BLM protestors the previous summer].”

His opinions were informed by his personal and professional dealings with police despite having such a high rank and occupying security spaces that most Americans would not have access to.

“You’re looking at somebody who would get stopped by the police for driving a high-value government vehicle. No other reason,” Walker said.

He further questioned why people were not prepared for the madness of Jan. 6, saying intelligence had alerted many that Jan. 6 was going to be a “big deal.”

Without going into too much detail but citing the November and December 2020 warm-ups by Trump supporters as markers for the top-of-the-year action, Walker said, “I’m an intelligence officer … to me, the intelligence was there that this was going to be a big deal.”

Walker said it was so obvious that the “patriots” were planning something extraordinary that intelligence was not needed. “I mean, everybody knew that people were directed to come there by the president. November was a run-up, December was practice, and January 6th was executed,” Walker said.

“National Guard is not called in December,” he continued. “National Guard is not called in November. And I watched on television the difference between people coming to the Capitol in November. And if you watch the film, and if these same groups came back in December, better prepare. Better prepare.”

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