Members of the Capitol Police complained Sergeant Harry Dunn—who spoke candidly about the racism he endured from the mob that stormed the United States Capitol one year ago—has made the insurrection "all about race."
According to The New York Times, some of Dunn's fellow officers—who comprise a department that is predominantly White—have become critical of his public-facing role given the two officers who died after the attack were White.
Dunn made clear he has only spoken about his own experience.
Dunn has given multiple interviews to the press since he was identified as the officer who gave an anonymous interview to Buzzfeed News, where he recounted crying, "Is this America?" in the Capitol Rotunda.
Later, in often emotional testimony during a July 2021 hearing, Dunn recalled rioters—who ransacked the Capitol at the behest of former President Donald Trump on the false premise the 2020 general election was stolen—declared "that [n-word] voted for Biden."
The crowd chanted, "Boo! F**king [n-word]!" after Dunn confirmed he had, in fact, voted for President Joe Biden.
Many pointed out Capitol Police officers' criticisms of Dunn are rooted in White supremacy given they are seeking to silence a prominent Black officer from speaking candidly about his own experiences.
Racism undoubtedly influenced many who participated in the January 6 insurrection.
A few waved Confederate flags, perhaps the most overt symbol of a failed state in which White supremacy reigned supreme. Others bore symbols and slogans from White nationalist and White supremacist groups.
The presence of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, organizations that embraced White nationalism and White supremacist ideology and are considered hate groups, is unquestionably further evidence of the racial animus on which former President Trump and his associates capitalized.
Multiple political scientists and scholars also pointed out racial tensions have become more pronounced over the last decade. It was at least in part a response to the ascendancy of former President Barack Obama, further evidence of a White backlash aimed specifically, whether explicitly or implicitly, at impeding the advancement of Black people.
In fact, former President Trump regularly pushed the racist "birther" conspiracy theory alleging former President Obama was not born in the United States which, while false, is immaterial since Obama's mother was a United States citizen. Trump's 2016 opponent Republican Senator Ted Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father and a United States citizen mother.
The rise of an angry and galvanized insurgency, spurred by a President who once urged police officers to shoot demonstrators calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality and whose chief advisers included noted White nationalists Steve Bannon—who has openly pushed conspiracy theories suggesting Whites are being "replaced" by immigrants of non-European descent—and Stephen Miller—architect of the child separation policy on only the southern border—underscores the consquences of these ideologies attaining larger platforms and wider recognition and acceptance.
Dunn, for his part, has continued to speak out about the treatment he experienced during the Capitol riot and criticized Republicans for defending insurrectionists.