Indigenous woman holds #NODAPL sign at Standing Rock protest.

arindambanerjee/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Photos contrast cops’ treatment of white rioters vs. indigenous protesters

'We are beaten and shot for protesting to not get killed by cops or for clean water.'


Samira Sadeque


Posted on Jan 7, 2021   Updated on Jan 7, 2021, 5:43 pm CST

After Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, police are facing massive criticism for a host of reasons. Notably, police have been condemned for failing to prepare for the riot as well as the blatant discrepancy between the treatment of white rioters and Black Lives Matter movement protesters. 

Activists on Twitter are also pointing out how differently security forces responded to Standing Rock Sioux who protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016 and to Wednesday’s violent mob on the Capitol.

“I remember walking down a dirt road with babies and grandmothers at Standing Rock where we were met by a row of army tanks and assault rifles,” one Twitter user wrote.

One video from Wednesday shows an officer holding the hand of a woman wearing a “MAGA” hat as she slowly walks down the Capitol steps. It touched a nerve for many to see not only the lack of action by D.C. police against the violent mob but their treatment of these people with such respect, a privilege no indigenous or Black protester would be afforded.

“Settlers get treated like humans by their government. Meanwhile we are beaten and shot for protesting to not get killed by cops or for clean water,” the Indigenous Anarchist Federation tweeted. “America has always been this way.”

“This is how pigs treat Native Americans trying to protect their land. But yesterday they acted like frightened little pussies,” a redditor captioned a photo of 18 police officers spraying eight protesters standing in a lake. 

The arrests made Wednesday, or lack thereof, also stood out to many. While there were 70 arrests made in relation to the Capitol raid, the majority were only for breaking curfew. Even though the number of people breaking into the Capitol was in the thousands, only a handful of arrests were related to the siege.

Like indigenous Twitter users, other marginalized groups also tweeted reminders of how the Capitol Police treated their protests in the past. Photos and videos show police dragging and pushing disabled protesters, many using wheelchairs, out of the Capitol during a 2018 protest against cuts to Medicaid.

The photos of both indigenous and disabled protesters shared after the Capitol riot served the same purpose.

“There have been so many goddamn examples of the United States and the police in this country acting out of pure violence and hatred towards Black and indigenous people,” user @sydnerain tweeted. “It’s incredulous that some have yet to learn.”

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*First Published: Jan 7, 2021, 5:42 pm CST