- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The National Police Association is criticizing Congress for investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot while “ignoring” the hundreds of protests that turned violent last year.

“There were at least 574 violent riots in 2020, and yet today’s Congressional hearings are focusing on only one riot, January 6th, 2021, and hearing testimony from only a few of the police officers involved,” association spokeswoman Betsy Brantner Smith told The Washington Times on Tuesday.

The retired police sergeant said immediately after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed in Minnesota police custody last May, “policing was attacked from all sides” despite law enforcement agencies grappling with “violent riots night, after night, after night.”

“Brave police officers attempted to defend stores, apartment buildings, churches, hotels, several of their own precincts and courthouses and even a Ronald McDonald House from looting, arson and vandalism,” she said, adding that one officer was paralyzed and countless others suffered “horrific” injuries.

Her comments came the same day four police officers testified to a House select committee about the violence they encountered when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

Both the Senate and House judiciary committees have launched investigations into the events leading up to the Jan. 6 riots and into accusations that Trump officials pressured the Justice Department to challenge the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Sgt. Bratner Smith pointed to a July poll which found that nearly two-thirds (66%) of 996 likely voters said they think Congress should investigate the “574 protests that involved acts of violence, including assaults on police officers, looting and arson” last year.

The poll was conducted by the NPA and Rasmussen Reports.

If Congress does not investigate the 2020 protests, she says the nation will experience “unprecedented levels of gun violence,” which has already been on the rise.

“Politicizing one violent riot while ignoring hundreds of others, refusing to strongly denounce the ‘defund the police’ movement, and continuing to discuss ‘police reform’ instead of ‘criminal reform’ and ‘law and order’ will further embolden violent offenders and thrust this nation into unprecedented levels of gun violence,” she said.

More than 550 people across the country were reportedly shot this month during Independence Day weekend. Additionally, homicides are up in at least 38 large cities in the first three months of this year compared to the same time in 2020, according to a recent report by the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

“Criminals who have no reason to fear the police, the prosecutors or the justice system will continue their lawless behavior, and the poorest of Americans will be the ones who suffer the most,” the spokeswoman said.

The National Police Association is a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting law enforcement agencies nationwide.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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