Fed official calls treatment of Capitol rioters ‘most stark example of racism’

Victoria Guida

A senior Federal Reserve official on Tuesday made an unusually direct condemnation of how Black Americans are treated by law enforcement, saying if rioters at the Capitol building last week had been Black, they would not have come out alive.

“If those were Black militants, armed militants, storming the U.S. Capitol, I think they’d all be dead right now,” Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said at one of a series of events that the Fed system has been hosting on racism and the economy. “That is the most stark example of racism and disparities in our society.”

Kashkari did not explain what he meant by his remarks. A number of Capitol Police officers suffered injuries defending lawmakers, aides and journalists from the onslaught and one, Brian Sicknick, died late Thursday. But videos have also surfaced showing a small number of officers pulling down barricades for the rioters and, in another instance, stopping for a photo with one of them.

Some of those incidents were raised on a 3.5-hour caucus call on Friday by House Democrats, who demanded an investigation not only into the decisions by the Capitol Police leadership but of actions by some rank-and-file officers caught on camera.

The Fed has been increasingly focused on improving economic outcomes for racial minorities. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic last year referred to systemic racism as “a yoke that drags on the American economy” and spoke out in support of the protests earlier this year after the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police. Bostic and Kashkari are the only two members of the Fed’s rate-setting committee who are not white.