Let’s play a game of one of these things is not like the other. There were the Portland protests in the summer of 2020 where many people took to the streets in protest of the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others. Then earlier this year there was the January 6th insurrection where people advanced upon the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying election results.
But don’t just take my word for it. According to Newsweek, Carl Nichols, a judge appointed by former President Donald Trump, rebuffed an accused Capitol rioter’s claim that the Department of Justice should investigate social justice protesters in Portland. Nicholas went on to state in a December 21st decision:
“There are obvious differences between those, like Miller, who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and those who rioted in the streets of Portland in the summer of 2020,” Nichols wrote in his decision.
“The Portland rioters’ conduct, while obviously serious, did not target a proceeding prescribed by the Constitution and established to ensure a peaceful transition of power,” the judge added. “Nor did the Portland rioters, unlike those who assailed America’s Capitol in 2021, make it past the buildings’ outer defenses.”
Garrett Miller is currently facing five criminal charges, including sending a death threat to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York. Miller argues that he is “selectively prosecuting him for his conservative political beliefs while not prosecuting the BLM and Antifa protesters.” However, Nichols said that Miller hadn’t provided evidence for his claim beyond “anecdotal evidence.”
Listen, I already know that people will point to certain things about these protests. They will use words like Antifa, looting, and burning buildings. Somehow, Black Lives Matter gets lumped into the conversation. It’s important to note that groups like Wall of Moms were there to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
There will always be people who act in bad faith and stir up trouble. People have come out and said that extremists were causing the damage. Those who march against racial justice have even denounced any deadly protests. It’s incredibly different than trying to overthrow an election.
What is even more interesting because recently, a New York Times report indicated that the FBI set operations monitoring the Portland protests:
The FBI set up extensive surveillance operations inside Portland’s protest movement, according to documents obtained by The New York Times and current and former federal officials, with agents standing shoulder to shoulder with activists, tailing vandalism suspects to guide the local police toward arrests and furtively videotaping inside one of the country’s most active domestic protest movements.
There has been no evidence that the bureau used similar surveillance teams on right-wing demonstrators during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, despite potential threats of violence against the heart of federal government — though the FBI did have an informant in the crowd that day.
A peaceful transfer of power is what our democracy is based upon. We’ve all seen the pictures and videos of those ramming through Capitol police and bringing a noose and chanting to hang former Vice President Mike Pence. It was a completely different scene from Portland, where people got tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets.
Those protests that happened around the country to push back on racial injustices aren’t even remotely close to what occurred on January 6th. The 1st amendment right to peacefully assemble is given to everyone, but it just so happened that a collection of people used it to try to overthrow the government.