How Would Capitol Police Treat Chicago’s Black Activists?

Chicago activists
WBEZ spoke to three young Black Chicago activists about how Wednesday's scene at the U.S. Capitol, especially the interactions between pro-Trump extremists and police, stand in stark contrast to their own experiences with law enforcement. From left to right are activists Jeremy “Mohawk” Johnson, Naira B., and Anaiet. Contributed photos
Chicago activists
WBEZ spoke to three young Black Chicago activists about how Wednesday's scene at the U.S. Capitol, especially the interactions between pro-Trump extremists and police, stand in stark contrast to their own experiences with law enforcement. From left to right are activists Jeremy “Mohawk” Johnson, Naira B., and Anaiet. Contributed photos

How Would Capitol Police Treat Chicago’s Black Activists?

As many young Black Chicago activists watched Wednesday’s images of mostly white insurrectionists storm the U.S. Capitol, they couldn’t help but notice one thing — the police response. It felt completely different from how they and other Black protesters advocating for racial justice were treated over the summer.

WBEZ spoke to three young Black Chicago activists. Here is some of what they had to say. Push play to hear more of their thoughts.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘If that was us, they would have killed us — on sight,’” said Naira B., 22, a Chicago poet and activist.

“I live in a completely different America than those people,” said Naira’s friend and fellow activist Jeremy “Mohawk” Johnson, 26. Johnson, a musician, is on house arrest and could go to prison if he’s found guilty of charges he hit a police officer with his skateboard at a downtown Chicago protest in August to defund the Chicago Police Department and abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Johnson said police are the ones who beat him up.

“If anyone tries to deny white privilege at this point — this is cold, hard evidence,” said Anaiet, 20, a musician.

Linda Lutton covers Chicago neighborhoods for WBEZ. Follow her @lindalutton.