The internet is ablaze with news stories about Wednesday’s (1/6/21) failed coup attempt by President Trump and his loyalists to overturn the U.S. Presidential election by breaching the federal Capitol building by force. The strategy to interrupt the Congressional vote to certify the 2020 U.S. Presidential election results failed. Five people including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, 42, were killed during the breach. FBI authorities are still in the process of identifying and arresting the Trump loyalists.
Following the failed coup attempt, social media has been documenting the actions of Trump loyalists and supporters including the violent attack of a 25-year-old Black woman by Trump loyalists. The terrifying attack happened in Los Angeles, CA when the Black woman who was walking down a downtown Los Angeles street, was surrounded by an angry mob of 40 Trump loyalists who were participating in a “Stop the Steal” rally. The black woman identified by media outlets as Berlinda Nibo, refused to remove her face mask.
The Trump crowd kept demanding she take off her face mask and began following her and yelling racial and sexist epithets including the n-word and b-word. Nibo yelled back and gave them her middle finger and was confronted by a male member of the group who demanded she remove her face mask. When Berlinda refused to remove her face mask again, the man clawed and smacked her in the face. The Cut is reporting the incident occurred with a LAPD police officer standing across the street, who failed to intervene in the vicious attack, despite calls from onlookers for the officer to help the woman.
The Trump mob then started pushing the victim and a woman Trump loyalist attacked her, snatching off her wig in the process. When Nibo tried to fight back, the men began beating her with metal flag poles while the woman Trump loyalist continued to beat her.
The victim was repeatedly beaten and pepper sprayed until a man attending the Trump rally physically picked up Nibo and escorted her to safety from the group. He told her, “You’re okay. I’m getting you out of here. These people are trying to kill you.” Nibo who says he grabbed her so hard she had red marks across her chest, credits him with saving her life.
Watch a CBS News report of the incident below (WARNING: Violent images; some captured by photojournalist Raquel Nataliccio)
In a separate incident, a Black-woman owned café in Oak Park, IL was targeted by racists who threw a brick at her establishment and left a racist note with racial epithets at the door. Watch an ABC 7 Chicago news story about the incident:
Following the incident, hundreds of messages and support were posted to the front of the café which often serves as a meeting spot for the local political crowd. Police are investigating the incident at L!VE Café as a hate crime.
Since President Trump has taken office, scores of violent incidents by Trump loyalists have taken place in the United States, much of the violence against BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color). In August 2019, The Guardian compiled a database of 52 threats or acts of violence committed by Trump supporters since he took office. Many of the threats of violence were against Black women members of Congress included Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Maxine Waters, and then Senator Kamala Harris (now U.S. Vice-President-Elect). Many of the physical attacks were against Muslim women of color.
Currently, thirteen of the domestic terrorists have been charged in federal court and approximately 40 have been charged in Superior Court. Charges against participants of the failed coup who breached the Capitol include “picketing the Capitol,” “disorderly conduct,” “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority,” and “violent entry.” None have been charged with Capital murder against Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, who was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher inside of the Capitol during the failed coup or any charges related to the pursuit of a Black Capitol police officer who was threatened with violence and was seen on video running for his safety.
Women of color in general and Black women specifically need to take heed, be alert and careful when leaving safe spaces. Nibo was walking to her home when the young woman encountered the violent mob of Trump loyalists. Based on The Guardian’s report and documented video violence by citizen journalists, a pattern of threats and mob violence against Black women in the Trump era has clearly been established and buoyed by a failure to punish white violent mob participants with charges that would potentially deter future attacks. In some cases, the Black women victims themselves are charged by police instead of the perpetrator.
Coupled with the United States’ long history of mob violence against Black and Indigenous women, it appears threats and violence against Black women by angry White mobs loyal to White supremacists and their ideology is here to stay.
This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual or @TheBurtonWire.