Trump supporters swarmed the U.S. capitol during today's Senate debate over the Electoral College votes.
This article was originally published at 3:55 p.m. on January 6. It was updated at 5:50 p.m. on January 6.
Less than a year after Black Lives Matter protesters were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and countless instances of brutality from police officers across the country, Trump supporters are being let off rather easy for...also protesting.
January 6 marked the Senate debate over the Electoral College count, during which the soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and various other Trump cronies asserted that Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election (though he did) and the current president would have been reelected in a landslide if it weren't for massive voter fraud (which didn't exist).
As Senators debated in the capitol, a swarm of protestors — donning Trump swag, MAGA hats, and, yes, Confederate flags—began encroaching in. At around 2 PM EST, however, Capitol Police notified everyone inside the building to shelter in place. The protesters had, in fact, breached the capitol building.
A Timeline: Here's Video Evidence of What's Going On
First, Trump supporters began gathering outside the Capitol steps. As they inched up the steps, it appeared as though police officers did little to hold them back — save for a few spritzes of pepper spray.
View from inside the Capitol as people gather on the West Front. The Capitol is currently on lockdown. https://t.co/XKNKWNbHxZ— Caroline Brehman (@Caroline Brehman) 1609959899.0
Whoa: Trump supporters going at it with the police on the steps of the Capitol as Congress counts the Electoral Col… https://t.co/xr73tTSmHP— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1609956924.0
It's a far cry from the violence that police enacted on Black Lives Matter protesters last summer.
This is WILD https://t.co/dC8whGzIgw— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1609957919.0
Protesters then raised a cross outside of the Capitol (unclear if they plan on nailing Trump to it).
The Capitol's front doors were shattered as protesters then came inside, demanding to see senators.
Holy shit https://t.co/dofEG2SmqP— Jim Newell (@Jim Newell) 1609960908.0
Video of Capitol breakin. Trump protesters are demanding to see senators https://t.co/w7jTNYAedd— Steven Nelson (@Steven Nelson) 1609960776.0
Protesters were able to walk throughout the building with little to no pushback from security.
They breached the Capitol https://t.co/tWKxojW2Hr— Matt Laslo (@Matt Laslo) 1609960531.0
Protesters began getting violent with police officers in an attempt to reach the senate chamber. Chants of "U.S.A." echo throughout the building.
Police and Trump supporters are going at it INSIDE of the Capitol. Never thought we’d see something like this https://t.co/MqBJoKYHbP— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1609962379.0
DC police reported that one person had been shot inside the capitol. MSNBC shared a clip in which a bloodied woman was shown leaving the capitol on a stretcher.
BREAKING: DC paramedic source tells me one person shot in Capitol. CPR in progress— Lindsay Watts (@Lindsay Watts) 1609963311.0
MSNBC just showed video of a bloodied woman on a stretcher being taken from the Capitol (I won’t show the video b… https://t.co/rst32DQ7bS— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1609963598.0
Protestors found their way to the senate chamber. No tear gas, no rubber bullets.
A source reportedly told Aaron C. Davis, investigative reporter for the Washington Post, that the Defense Department denied a request by DC officials to deploy the National Guard to the capitol.
BREAKING: A source tells me The Defense Department has just denied a request by DC officials to deploy the National Guard to the US Capitol.— Aaron C. Davis (@Aaron C. Davis) 1609962905.0
President Trump's advice: "Stay peaceful," coming from the same man who told Black Lives Matter protesters, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."
Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1609961938.0
Despite bipartisan demands, Trump does not strengthen his language at all.
Reports of violence and injuries, including a woman shot in the neck, confirm escalating violence. Later in the evening, MSNBC confirmed that the woman who was shot had died.
Pro-Trump rioters have breached the US Capitol and one woman has been shot as the building is engulfed in chaos aft… https://t.co/aMJQq74oJ5— CNN (@CNN) 1609966127.0
BREAKING: The woman has died, several law enforcement officials say - @PeteWilliamsNBC https://t.co/iwXCYHj6IT— MSNBC (@MSNBC) 1609973306.0
After a confusing delay, more DC National Guard troops are finally mobilized to quell the mob.
LATEST: Trump has ordered the National Guard to the Capitol after his supporters breached barricades and broke wind… https://t.co/AwLoGMWNJe— Bloomberg (@Bloomberg) 1609965928.0
As Pride month ends, we look at the life of one of the most important figures in the push towards gay rights.
Content warning: This article contains a brief mention of sexual assault.
As Pride Month comes to a close, we remember Marsha P. Johnson, one of the principal figures in the gay liberation movement.
A Black transgender woman, Johnson was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1945. Her parents were blue collar workers who raised Johnson with her six siblings. At age five, she began wearing dresses, but stopped after boys in her neighborhood began bullying and harassing her over her outfits. She later recalled being violently raped by one of these boys, who she remembered being around 13 at the time.
She had a religious upbringing and remained a devout Christian through her later life. In her adolescence, Johnson "always thought gayness was some sort of dream." She abstained from sexual activity until she moved to New York City at age 17 with only $15 and a bag of clothes. She began waiting tables in Greenwich Village; for the first time in her life, she met other queer people, and the "dream" of being gay was slowly becoming her reality.
With a newfound confidence to explore her gender identity, she ditched her birth name, put on a blond wig, and adopted the name Marsha P. Johnson. The letter "P" stood for "pay it no mind," a phrase Johnson would use to sarcastically dismiss people who inquired about her gender.
After arriving in New York, Johnson began performing in drag; she became known for her slender silhouette and her crowns of fresh flowers. She usually couldn't afford the ultra-glamorous ensembles worn by more extravagant "high drag" queens. Nonetheless, Johnson became one of the first drag queens to go to the notorious Stonewall Inn, a bar that had previously only been open for cisgender gay men.
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall uprising occurred in the form of violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT+ community in response to a police raid. Along with fellow drag queen Zazu Nova and sex worker Jackie Hormona, Johnson is often cited as one of the leaders of the pushback against police during the Stonewall uprising.
However, Johnson later denied these claims, stating the riots had already begun when she arrived at the Stonewall that night. Witnesses have recalled her throwing a shot class at a mirror, shouting, "I got my civil rights," as well as throwing a brick at a police officer and shattering a police car windshield.
One year later, the first Pride parade occurred on June 28, 1970 to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Then called the Christopher Street Liberation Pride rally, Johnson joined the Gay Liberation Front—a group of LGBT+ activists—and participated in the march. The following August, she helped stage a sit-in protest at Weinstein Hall at New York University, after the university's administration canceled a dance event upon realizing it was sponsored by LGBT+ organizations.
Along with her close friend and drag queen Sylvia Rivera, Johnson went on to co-found Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR). STAR helped push intersectional politics and provided housing in Lower Manhattan for homeless queer youth and sex workers. The first STAR House was a parked trailer that served as both a shelter and communal space; but after finding the trailer had been towed one morning, Johnson and Rivera found a more permanent location for a STAR House on Second Avenue.
Johnson and Rivera paid rent for the unit with income they earned from doing sex work. STAR was the first LGBT+ youth shelter in North America and the first organization in the United States to be founded by non-white transgender women.
Despite making innumerable strides in gay liberation and maintaining a mostly lighthearted, positive, and generous persona, Johnson endured a great deal of pain throughout her life; she relied on sex work to survive while living on the streets in the '60s, her husband was shot by police, and she claimed to have been arrested over 100 times.
Her behavior was dangerously erratic at times, leading people to suspect she might have had schizophrenia; she could quickly take on a violent demeanor. For this reason, people long hesitated to acknowledge her impact spearheading the gay rights movement.
Finally, in summer of 1992, Johnson's body was found dead in the Hudson River. Her death was quickly ruled a suicide, although close friends of Johnson's maintained she was never suicidal in spite of her struggles with mental health. She was 46.
Despite not gaining much attention in mainstream press (the New York Times published a very belated obituary in 2018), Johnson was beloved by her community, and she continues to be remembered as one of the most crucial figures in gay liberation. She's been cited as a major influence by RuPaul, the drag queen known for hosting the competition reality show RuPaul's Drag Race.
Though there are still actions that need to be taken in order to achieve full equality for the LGBT+ community, it's irrefutable that Marsha P. Johnson is responsible for much of the progress towards true liberation. Johnson may or may not have thrown the first brick at Stonewall; but either way, she fought like hell for all queer people. Though she didn't know them each personally, they would all come to recognize her as a hero.
New Yorkers have been hearing constant explosions throughout the night. Is it a conspiracy?
If you live in a large metropolitan area like New York City, Black Lives Matter protests likely aren't the only things you hear making noise in the streets.
In the past couple of weeks, as Black Lives Matter supporters march in memory of George Floyd and countless other Black people killed by police, the sounds of fireworks can be heard virtually every weekend. More than just your average Fourth of July shindig, these explosions often trail into the wee hours of the morning.
According to Gothamist, there were 6,385 total "311" complaints about fireworks in New York City from June 1 to June 19—up from 27 during the same time period last year. "This is not the simple firecrackers and little small toy-type rockets, but it was very elaborate," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told Gothamist. "That in itself is raising a high level of concern with me... When you see the large displays along Brooklyn and in Manhattan, Upper Manhattan, you're seeing extremely sophisticated type fireworks displays that can be extremely dangerous in the hands of the wrong people."
Anything more powerful than a sparkler is illegal in New York, but that hasn't stopped regular folks from buying the type of fireworks you'd see in a professional display. But who is buying these fireworks, and what are they trying to accomplish? There are some wild theories.
NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows
NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows nypost.com
As author Robert Jones, Jr. pointed out in a lengthy Twitter thread, antics by "bored Black and brown kids" tends to be the general assumption made by most mainstream media. "My neighbors and I believe that this is part of a coordinated attack on Black and Brown communities by government forces; an attack meant to disorient and destabilize the #BlackLivesMatter movement," Jones wrote.
One goal Jones proposed was that white people were the ones setting off the constant fireworks in an attempt to "stoke tensions between Black and Brown peoples." Many have voiced their frustrations online about the sheer volume of the fireworks they hear, and a shared annoyance is growing.
Reporting from Brooklyn, there was yet another night of extremely loud fireworks starting at 8 pm. and ending at ab… https://t.co/FG3YxzzuhV— Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.) (@Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.)) 1592661707.0
Another motive Jones proposed was that the fireworks are being used as a desensitization method to acclimate citizens to the sounds of the blasts—which often sound like gunshots. "When they start using their real artillery on us we won't know the difference," Jones wrote. "It's meant to sound like a war zone because a war zone is what it's about to become."
Police don't seem too concerned. The New York Post shared a video this week of fireworks being set off behind an NYPD precinct in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. No officers appear to deter them. A similar video in Harlem, Manhattan also shows a flock of police cars—none of which seem to mind the explosions.
In West Harlem, 3am. NYPD putting on a show with fireworks in the background. @NYGovCuomo this is what they are pai… https://t.co/FH8i5WsPb7— Jeo (@Jeo) 1592810055.0
Another video shows what appears to be Brooklyn firefighters setting off fireworks:
Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn
Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn nypost.com
Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was forming a task force to combat the illegal fireworks. "Illegal fireworks are both dangerous and a public nuisance," he said. "We're cracking down on this activity at the source to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and the ability of our neighbors to get some sleep."
BREAKING: @NYCMayor announces an illegal fireworks task force. “Illegal fireworks are both dangerous and a public… https://t.co/rBwSRD1FzM— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYC Mayor's Office) 1592921487.0
But if over 6,000 complaints have been made about fireworks to seemingly no avail, it seems a task force won't merit much of an improvement.
Many seem to agree with the theory that inconspicuous government officials have been offering fireworks to Black children, newly on summer vacation and hungry for ways to ease their quarantine boredom. As with many issues going on in America, these constant fireworks will probably be just another way for the government to further discriminate against marginalized groups.
At least we can always rely on memes to spread the good word.
@carolineha_ nypd catching fireworks sellers https://t.co/Xvx0xnfhhn— dylan (@dylan) 1592923088.0
NYPD officers falsely claimed that their Shake Shack milkshakes had been poisoned.
According to a statement that has since been deleted, three NYPD officers were hospitalized after an ill-fated trip to Shake Shack.
The officers claimed that the officers drank milkshakes that had been poisoned with bleach. According to CNN, the statement read that the officers "discovered that a toxic substance, believed to be bleach, had been placed in their beverages" on Monday. But here's a question: What if the cops were just lactose intolerant?
Investigators believed that residual cleaning solution from the milkshake machine might've made its way into the officers' drinks. "When NYC police officers cannot even take a meal without coming under attack, it is clear that the environment in which we work has deteriorated to a critical level," Patrick Lynch, President of the New York Police Benevolent Association, wrote in the statement.
Shake Shack responded on Twitter, saying they were "horrified by the reports of police officers injured." But—spoiler alert—no criminality was found by the burger joint's employees, according to a tweet by NYPD Chief Rodney Harrison.
We are horrified by the reports of police officers injured at our 200 Broadway Shack in Manhattan. We are working w… https://t.co/t8DWEtc5z8— SHAKE SHACK (@SHAKE SHACK) 1592279377.0
After a thorough investigation by the NYPD’s Manhattan South investigators, it has been determined that there was n… https://t.co/aZJZUIR0RD— Chief Rodney Harrison (@Chief Rodney Harrison) 1592294531.0
This is hardly the first time police have made food-tampering claims that have been proven false. Last July, a corrections officer with the Marion County Sheriff's Office in Indiana filed a complaint against a McDonald's employee he believed had taken a bite of his sandwich because he was a law enforcement officer; as it turns out, the officer had forgotten it was him who took the bite himself.
Last December, a Starbucks employee was fired after allegedly printing the name "Pig" on an Oklahoma officer's drink order. However, Twitter users pointed out that the label on the cup was that of a mobile order, indicating that "Pig" would've been the name the customer enters themself.
tale as old as time...🎶 https://t.co/EXz6esjx4A— Endless 😱 Bummer (@Endless 😱 Bummer) 1592296381.0
Considering law enforcement has been especially scrutinized lately following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, now is not the smartest time for a milkshake hijinx. If I were a police officer, I would simply read the room and mind my own business. I would also quit my job.