In June 2018, US Capitol Police arrested nearly 600 women peacefully protesting President Donald Trump’s family separation and immigration detention policies. On Wednesday, Capitol Police arrested 14 people in response to a violent assault on the Capitol that left a member of the mob and a police officer dead. The overwhelming majority of right-wing extremists who took over the Capitol for the first time since the War of 1812 walked free.
The June 2018 family separation protest was one of at least 35 days since 2016 during which Capitol Police arrested more demonstrators than they did insurgents on Wednesday, according to press releases and statements from the Capitol Police. Officers arrested more than 3,600 people on those 35 days, or about 260 times as many people as they did during the attack on the Capitol.
Newly elected Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) is drafting legislation that will call for a commission to investigate whether members of the Capitol Police have direct or indirect ties to white nationalists and their sympathizers. “It’s critical when you look at the disparity in terms of how the Capitol Police responded to the insurrection on Wednesday, versus how they responded to—not just [Black Lives Matter] protesters this summer, but other people of color, and people who are disabled, historically,” Bowman told my colleague Kara Voght.
The Capitol Police’s mass arrests of demonstrators overwhelmingly impacted people supporting progressive causes. Over eight days in 2016, Capitol Police arrested about 1,240 people protesting the influence of money in politics and Congress’ failure to do anything about it. In July 2017, they arrested nearly 400 people fighting Republicans’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In September 2018, officers arrested another roughly 400 people who were protesting Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Below is a list of the nearly three dozens days in recent years that led to more arrests than Wednesday’s assault.
April 11, 2016: More than 400 arrests in response to the “Democracy Spring” protests against the influence of money in politics and the lack of action by Congress to counteract it.
April 12, 2016: Approximately 85 Democracy Spring arrests.
April 13, 2016: Approximately 90 Democracy Spring arrests.
April 14, 2016: Approximately 60 Democracy Spring arrests.
April 15, 2016: Approximately 13o Democracy Spring arrests, including the actress Rosario Dawson.
April 18, 2016: Ben (Cohen) & Jerry (Greenfield) among approximately 300 Democracy Spring protesters arrested.
June 22, 2017: 43 disability rights activists arrested while protesting Republicans’ efforts to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which was expected to cause more than 20 million people to lose their health insurance.
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) June 22, 2017
June 28, 2017: 40 people arrested during protests against the Obamacare repeal.
Ten protesters outside of Sen. Toomey's office, several arrested: "Kill the bill, don't kill me." pic.twitter.com/O18W1RklDQ
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) June 28, 2017
July 10, 2017: 80 people arrested during protests in support of the Affordable Care Act.
July 17, 2017: 33 pro-Obamacare protesters arrested.
July 19, 2017: Approximately 155 pro-Obamacare protesters arrested.
July 25, 2017: 95 people arrested days before Republicans’ initial effort to repeal Obamacare under Trump failed.
ADAPT activists being taken out one by one by Capitol Police, being greeted by huge applause as they go pic.twitter.com/EJddxpIi2Q
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) July 25, 2017
September 25, 2017: 181 people arrested protesting a last-ditch effort by the GOP to eliminate keys parts of Obamacare.
January 17, 2018: 82 people arrested during a protest led by Jewish activists and clergy members in support of protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 17, 2018
March 5, 2018: 87 people arrested after protesting in support of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. The Trump administration had moved to end the Obama-era program that provides so-called Dreamers with temporary work permits and protection from deportation.
June 28, 2018: Approximately 575 people arrested as women protested the president’s immigration policies. Following a massive backlash, the Trump administration had just abandoned the family separation policy that split thousands of families at the US-Mexico border.
The scene inside Hart atrium this afternoon as Capitol police started arresting women engaging in mass civil disobedience to protest family separation at our border. #WomenDisobey pic.twitter.com/kSURUqHju2
— Sasha Stashwick (@SashaLyutse) June 28, 2018
September 4, 2018: 70 people arrested protesting Trump’s decision to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court.
September 5, 2018: 73 anti-Kavanaugh protesters arrested.
September 6, 2018: 69 anti-Kavanaugh protesters arrested.
September 24, 2018: 128 people arrested protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination after Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh becomes public.
September 27, 2018: 57 anti-Kavanaugh protesters arrested the day before his nomination is advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
October 5, 2018: 101 people arrested during Kavanaugh protests.
October 6, 2018: 164 people arrested during Kavanaugh protests.
December 10, 2018: 138 members of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led organization fighting to end the climate crisis, arrested protesting in support of the Green New Deal.
February 14, 2019: 19 people arrested during separate protests in support of gun control and in opposition to a West Virginia factory project.
February 25, 2019: 42 people arrested during pro-Green New Deal protests led by the Sunrise Movement.
A fraction of the police presence ready to arrest Sunrise activists protesting in McConnell’s office pic.twitter.com/XHH8N71Ppr
— Justin Worland (@JustinWorland) February 25, 2019
May 21, 2019: 27 people arrested during three incidents, according the Capitol Police’s summary of weekly arrests.
May 22, 2019: 20 people arrested during Capitol Hill demonstrations.
July 9, 2019: 18 people affiliated with the Jewish group Never Again Action arrested during a protest of the Trump administration’s treatment of detained immigrants.
July 18, 2019: A 90-year-old nun and 69 others arrested while protesting the conditions faced by people detained at the US-Mexico border.
Massive number of police to arrest nuns and priests protesting ICE in D.C.
God bless these #CatholicsAgainstICE.
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) July 18, 2019
October 8, 2019: 133 LGBTQ activists arrested after protesting while the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three LGBTQ rights cases.
October 15, 2019: 18 people arrested protesting the record-low cap on refugee admissions set by the Trump administration. Each person represented 1,000 of the 18,000 refugees the administration said it would allow in that fiscal year, down from 110,000 at the end of the Obama administration.
January 29, 2020: 39 people arrested by Capitol Police for blocking entry to the Capitol Building during a demonstration.
October 12, 2020: 21 people arrested after protesting Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Conservative activists here to support Barrett are chanting “law and order,” a common Trump refrain, as anti-Barrett protesters are led away by police, their hands bound behind their backs. #SCOTUS #DCProtests pic.twitter.com/FLPuq6WHo6
— Marissa J. Lang (@Marissa_Jae) October 12, 2020
October 15, 2020: 26 people arrested outside the Supreme Court during the last day of Barrett’s confirmation hearings.
January 6, 2021: 14 people arrested by Capitol Police during a violent attack on US Capitol that forced the vice president and legislators to evacuate.