WASHINGTON — The House sergeant-at-arms, who led the DC National Guard during the attack on the US Capitol, told the committee on January 6 that the response from law enforcement would have been very different if the rioters would have been African Americans.
“I am African American. Child of the sixties. I think it would have been a very different response if they were African Americans trying to breach the Capitol,” William J. Walker told congressional investigators in an interview. transcription released Tuesday. “As a career police officer, part-time soldier, the last 5 full years, but if I hadn’t been a police officer my entire career, the response from law enforcement would have been different.”
Walker’s testimony echoed the observations of many Americans, including President Joe Biden, who noted the stark difference in law enforcement response to protests in DC following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd and the Tight security at the Capitol on January 6.
Walker indicated that he thought more protesters would have been killed by law enforcement on January 6 if the composition of the crowd had not been overwhelmingly white.
“You know, as a law enforcement officer, there was, I saw enough that he probably would have been using deadly force,” Walker said. «I think it would have been more bloodshed if the composition had been different.»
Walker, a former Drug Enforcement Administration official who became a House sergeant-at-arms in April 2021, also described his personal experiences with discriminatory law enforcement stops and talked about having «the conversation.» with his five sons and granddaughter about surviving encounters with the police as a black man. American.
“You are looking at someone who would be pulled over by police for driving a high-value government vehicle. There is no other reason,» Walker said.
The DC National Guard was not authorized to attend the Capitol on January 6 until after a 3 hour and 19 minute delay that the House committee report legs about a «probable miscommunication among members of the civilian leadership in the Department of Defense.»
Walker told investigators he was clear ahead of time that Jan. 6 would be a «big deal» just by being aware of what was happening in the world.
«I’m an intelligence officer … to me, the intelligence was there that this was going to be a big problem,» Walker said, citing civil unrest in November and December when Trump supporters arrived in DC.
«[Y]You don’t need intelligence. I mean, everyone knew that the president had ordered people to come there. November was a run-up, December was a practice, and on January 6 it was executed,» Walker said.
“I personally, William Joseph Walker, not General Walker, thought it was very different,” Walker said, comparing the riots of the summer of 2020 to the riots after the election. «The National Guard is not called in December. The National Guard is not called in November. And I saw on TV the difference between the people who come to the Capitol in November. And if they see the movie, and if these same groups came back in December , You better get ready. You better get ready.»
As NBC News first reported last month, the January 6 committee made the decision to focus its final report on former President Donald Trump, rather than intelligence and law enforcement failures and other issues the committee investigated. committee staff. Part of the panel’s investigation into intelligence failures was eventually relegated to an appendix, though the report noted that «federal and local law enforcement authorities were in possession of multiple streams of intelligence that predicted violence directed at the Capitol prior to January 6.» .
A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 panel member, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., told the Washington Post last month that committee staff had «submitted poor material for the report that reflects long-standing liberal biases about federal law enforcement» and that she would not «sign off any ‘narrative’ that suggests Republicans are inherently racist or maligns the men and women in law enforcement.»
Still, the testimony of Walker, a highly decorated commanding general and long-serving DEA special agent who rose to top leadership positions in the agency before becoming the Black House’s first sergeant-at-arms , highlights some of the systemic problems that were not addressed in the commission’s final report.