Washington, DC — Today, on the six-month anniversary of the far right attack on the U.S. Capitol, People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch released a new report, “The Cops Who Joined The Insurrection: Racism, Authoritarianism and Violence,” that examines the violent subculture that led to the January 6 insurrection, the participants, the planning and organizing before the events of that day, and the crimes of the active and retired law enforcement officers who took part in it.
The report also explores the relationship between police culture and some of the historical roots of the authoritarian mindset displayed in the insurrection, and the role of police unions in protecting and advancing that culture.
Read the report here.
“On January 6 our democracy was attacked. Congresspeople took cover in fear of their lives. This was not a political protest, this was an effort to prevent Congress from affirming the will of the voters,” said People For the American Way President Ben Jealous. “History has shown that the best predictor of an eventual successful coup is a recently failed one. We cannot let this happen again. People must be held accountable and that means the whole enterprise must be thoroughly investigated.”
“Among the more than 500 people charged with federal crimes by the Department of Justice for their participation in the siege, Right Wing Watch has been able to identify 15 law enforcement officers—some actively employed by law enforcement entities, and some retired,” said Right Wing Watch Research Director Adele Stan in the report. “They hail from a total of 12 states and departments as small as the police force of Rocky Mount, Virginia, to those as large as New York City’s. While those who participate in or are complicit with such extremist groups may comprise a small percentage of law enforcement, they are especially dangerous because of their tactical knowledge, access to confidential information and the authority carried by those who wear the badge.”
The "The Cops Who Joined The Insurrection: Racism, Authoritarianism and Violence,” comes days after the House vote on Resolution 503 to establish a select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection and stark warnings to Republicans from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about accepting a position on the committee from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Right Wing Watch experts and report authors are available for interviews to discuss the details of the report, plus:
- what groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are up to today,
- the overlap between white nationalists, military and law enforcement; and
- how the Far Right continues to organize and prepare for more conflict
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: https://www.pfaw.org