As he announced his Justice Department leadership team, President-elect Joe Biden denounced what he described as an unequal justice system reflected in the lenient response to the mostly white rioters who assaulted the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Biden suggested a stark contrast with the treatment of racial justice demonstrators last summer, reports the Washington Post. “You can’t tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesters … they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” Biden said before beginning to hammer his fist against the lectern. “We all know that is true. And it is totally unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. The American people saw it in plain view.” Biden pledged that disparities would be addressed by DOJ, where he wants to restore the department’s independence and reputation after four years of politicization under President Donald Trump.
“I want to be clear to those who lead this department who you will serve — you won’t work for me,” Biden said. “You are not the president or the vice president’s lawyer. Their loyalty is not to me. It’s to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation.” Biden’s condemnation of racial injustice came after a year when police killings brought the issue vividly to the fore. Black activists have long cited a difference in the police handling of Black and white protesters, and the relatively hands-off treatment of Wednesday’s mob reinforced that impression. In addition to Merrick Garland as Attorney General, Biden will nominate Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general, civil rights advocate Vanita Gupta as the department’s number three official Kristen Clarke as head of its civil rights division. Biden and his allies stressed that Garland, Monaco and Gupta have deep experience combating domestic terrorism and systemic racism.