After hundreds of far-right insurrectionists incited by President Donald Trump invaded the U.S. Capitol, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a 6 p.m. curfew and declared an emergency until after Inauguration Day. This emergency, which empowers the mayor for public safety purposes, is separate from the health emergency declared over the coronavirus pandemic.
To make matters worse, the District is reeling from co-occurring crises—an attempted coup, hundreds of daily reported COVID-19 cases, and a pandemic-induced economic downturn—all without voting representation in Congress. Unlike governors of states elsewhere, Bowser could not independently activate the D.C. National Guard when the mob breached the Capitol. Vice President Mike Pence, not Trump, approved the order to deploy all 1,100 members to support local police containing the domestic terrorist attack. But the Metropolitan Police Department was called to lead the command to clear the Capitol after the United States Capitol Police was not able to.
Just Wednesday morning, Bowser called on the new Congress to pass D.C. statehood legislation within its first 100 days. She reiterated that call again during a morning press conference. She also asked Congress to immediately transfer the command of the National Guard from president to mayor.
The coup attempt disrupted daily life for hundreds of thousands of D.C. residents Wednesday, as City Paper reported. People working in Downtown D.C. were afraid for their own safety. A restaurant worker had to enforce the mask mandate when Trump supporters looked to dine because D.C. police didn’t. A hotel employee who was attacked the last time Trump supporters came to town says he experienced post-traumatic stress while working on Tuesday. He was thankful he didn’t have to work Wednesday.
The disruption to daily life continues into Thursday. Two charter schools canceled in-person learning, while six charters canceled online class altogether. “We are disgusted when we think about the contrast between how our country is responding to this act of domestic terrorism vs the peaceful protests of this past summer,” KIPP DC CEO Susan Schaeffler tells families via email. “The pain and anxiety being felt in our community is real. Hate, racism, and insurrection have no place in the District of Columbia, our home.” KIPP DC and Friendship, charters that educate thousands of students who are mostly Black, canceled meal distribution on Thursday, too, arguing that staying home is the safest bet. They are offering mental health support.
As of this morning, MPD is reporting 80 arrests since this week’s civil unrest started, 68 of which occurred last night. 48 occurred on federal grounds. Only one arrestee is from D.C. More information on those arrests:
- 5 arrests for possession of an illegal firearm.
- 25 arrests for curfew violations and unlawful entry on the Capitol Grounds.
- 36 arrests for curfew violations, 28 of which were made throughout the city.
During the press conference, acting Police Chief Robert Contee said four people died yesterday during the unrest, one person was shot and killed while three deaths were related to medical emergencies. He also said police are still looking to make arrests. Continue to expect a large police presence in downtown and a 7-foot fence around the Capitol. Bowser says the ongoing emergency puts D.C. residents on notice that she may have to issue a curfew or other extraordinary measures. It is unclear if she’ll issue another tonight.
Many have pointed out the unequal treatment of insurrectionists by both D.C. and U.S. Capitol police. Capitol police looked unprepared to handle the mob. The first night D.C. was under curfew during George Flyod protests, on June 1, D.C. police kettled and arrested over 150 protesters on Swann Street NW alone. On that same day, federal law enforcement deployed tear gas before the mayor’s curfew even went into effect. (Groups accused MPD of aiding the clearing of protesters.) Contee has rejected any suggestions that police used more restraint on summer protesters than Capitol rioters. Police waited to contain the situation before making arrests, says Contee. But some were not buying it. Councilmembers and Attorney General Karl Racine noted a difference in law enforcement treatment as well.
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- The daily case rate and COVID-19 hospitalizations remain in the red or at Phase 0/1 levels. To see today’s coronavirus cases and more information, visit our coronavirus dashboard. [EOM]
- Anyone who isn’t a health care worker but already registered online to get the COVID-19 vaccine will have to sign up again once it is their turn. Click HERE for updates. [Twitter]
- A few locals who aren’t health care workers also got vaccinated. How’d they do it? They got really lucky, so don’t hang out at grocery stores waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine. [DCist]
- Local media deliberates what to call the insurrectionists. [Washingtonian]
By Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
- D.C. councilmembers want Trump removed from office. [Twitter]
- Not enough money in the budget for the Office of Human Rights to investigate hate crimes in public places. [Blade]
- Acting MPD Chief Robert Contee met with hot and cold reception from some community members. [Informer]
- Chefs Tom Cunanan and Paolo Dungca are opening a casual restaurant inspired by Jollibee. [Washingtonian]
- Reporter Kriston Capps spots people cheering Trump on inside The Alibi even though indoor dining is currently banned in the District. [Twitter]
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