Houston community leaders reflect on violent chaos at U.S. Capitol, compare response to other protests

ByRoxanne Bustamante KTRK logo
Friday, January 8, 2021
Houston community leaders reflect on chaos at Capitol
In the video above, hear from Houston community leaders and why they say the police's reaction the Capitol chaos was a double standard compared to other protests.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- City and community leaders are reacting to the Nation's response after a protest turned violent in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

According to authorities, a least 14 people were arrested after the chaos unfolded and the FBI is asking for the community's help to identify those who were inciting violence.

"Watching it with my daughter as it unfolded was something I could not explain," said Carla Brailey, the co-chair of the Houston Police Reform Task Force. "I know the impact that, unfortunately, it could have on, not only adults, but children who actually experienced that yesterday."

SEE ALSO: Lawmakers discuss Trump's fitness to remain president after mob occupies Capitol in DC

Brailey said language and rhetoric need to change in the country in order for there to be lasting change.

"Call things as they are," Brailey said. "That was not a protest, it was a riot."

SEE ALSO: Strong condemnation from US allies as world leaders react to chaos on Capitol Hill

Brailey is also a professor of sociology at the University of Houston and vice chair of the Texas Democratic Party. She said she has insight on how events, such as the ratification of the Electoral College vote, are supposed to be handled.

"I believe that was a direct display of white privilege," Brailey said. "To get into the Capitol the way that they were able to showed access that Black people, that brown people have yet to have in this country."

Douglas Griffith, the president of the Houston Police Officers' Union, applauded how Capitol police responded to the chaos.

"There is no difference between what took place with the rioters up in New York or any other city that had riots or looting than the group that went into the Capitol," Griffith said. "There's absolutely no difference in those two. They had ill intent and they carried out what they wanted to do, and it's wrong, and I think that our police officers and the Capitol police officers, for that matter, did everything they could within their power, with a limited number of people, to be able to contain them and handle it in the best way they could."

On Thursday, Mayor Sylvester Turner said he believes the chaos exhibited by President Donald Trump's supporters was incited by elected officials and the White House.

SEE ALSO: Stunning videos show chaos as pro-Trump rioters breach Capitol

"Whenever you get to the point where you can be a criminal, and you don't mind being on television and taking pictures, because you don't think you're going to be arrested [and] handcuffed," Turner said. "No. It was a double standard, a glaring double standard, and we need to call it what it is."

Houston rapper and activist Trae the Truth said he has experienced this double standard first hand as he has been arrested while standing at the center of protests for social injustice.

"It's showing that basically there are two different Americans," he said. "You have a person like me, who showed up at the attorney general's house, simply to demand justice for what's right and got felonies, just for being on his property. You have people that overtook a federal government building, even take podiums and all kinds of stuff, from what I've seen, and they don't get a scratch. They made it back home safe."

All unanimously agree those who incited the violence and committed crimes at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday should be held accountable.

"Peacefully protesting is part of our constitutional right," Griffith said. "Getting out there and causing harm to others is not and that needs to be stopped immediately and that needs to be denounced by all."

"This is beyond [President] Trump," Brailey said. "What we saw Wednesday says that we still have work to do in our nation."

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