Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff on the White Supremacist Insurrection at the United States Capitol

January 08 2021

Today, Center for Policing Equity CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff released the following statement on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol:

The storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump attempting to subvert a free and fair election was an inexcusable failure of governance and public safety — and a grotesque illustration of how White supremacy continues to cost lives and poison democracy.

Americans are told that the law, and the people sworn to uphold it, are there to protect lives and liberties. For generations, Black people and those who have suffered state-sponsored violence have been issuing public warnings — written in our own blood — that the failure to protect Black life was a fundamental failure of democracy. On Jan. 6, the world bore witness to the fundamental brokenness of a system that fails to safeguard the heart of a democracy while regularly killing the people who comprise it.

For communities that already believe law enforcement has no interest in protecting them, these events offered the ultimate confirmation. Every barrier surrendered, every rubber bullet not fired, every desecrator allowed to walk comfortably down the Capitol steps showed that the state’s response is dictated by the identity of the offender rather than the nature of the offense. Hours after White supremacists were cleared from the Capitol, lawmakers cast votes in support of the demands of armed and treasonous rioters.

Vulnerable communities cannot simply be asked to make a leap of faith against the evidence in front of them. Instead, leaders must build institutions that are worthy of their confidence. Our thoughts are with everyone around the world mourning the damage done to the symbols of democracy, as well as the family of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police Officer killed by rioters, and the dozens of officers injured. Our energy will be devoted to building systems of public safety that protect, not devalue, all of our lives and liberties.


About Center for Policing Equity: As a research and action organization, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses identifying and reducing the causes of racial disparities in law enforcement. Using evidence-based approaches to social justice, we use data to create levers for social, cultural and policy change. Center for Policing Equity also holds a 501(c)3 status.