Police in the U.S. are three times more likely to use force against left-wing protesters than right-wing protesters, say new data from a non-profit that monitors political violence around the world, The Guardian reports. In the past 10 months, U.S. law enforcement agencies have used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and beatings at a much higher percentage at Black Lives Matter demonstrations than at pro-Trump or other right-wing protests. Law enforcement officers were more likely to use force against left-wing demonstrators, whether the protests remained peaceful or not. The statistics, based on law enforcement responses to more than 13,000 protests since April 2020, show a clear disparity in how agencies have responded to the historic wave of Black Lives Matter protests against police violence, compared with demonstrations organized by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Former President Barack Obama highlighted an earlier version of these statistics last week, arguing that they provided a “useful frame of reference” for understanding Americans’ outrage over the failure of Capitol police to stop a mob of thousands of white Trump supporters from invading and looting the Capitol. The new statistics come from the US Crisis Monitor, a database created by researchers at Princeton and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED), a nonprofit that has monitored civil unrest in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. Researchers found that the vast majority of the thousands of protests across the U.S. in the past year have been peaceful, and that most protests by both the left and the right were not met with any violent response by law enforcement. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings with batons and other force against demonstrators at 511 left-wing protests and 33 right-wing protests since April.