House Sergeant Major William J. Walker, a former head of the Washington, D.C. National Guard, revealed on January 6, 2021 that he believed the response to the deadly riot would have been “very different” if black people had been involved.
Walker’s comments stemmed from testimony he provided to the panel in April.
“I’m African American. A child of the sixties. I think it would have been a much different response if it had been African Americans trying to break into the Capitol,” Walker said, according to the transcript. “As a career law enforcement officer, a part-time trooper, the last five years full-time, but as a law enforcement officer my entire career, the response of law enforcement would have been different.”
Walker, who is black, also told the committee that “they are looking at someone who is going to be pulled over by the police for driving a high-value government vehicle. There is no other reason.
“I think it would have been a different answer,” Walker said.
“I had to talk to my five children and I was getting ready to have it with my granddaughter, the conversation. I don’t know if you understand what I mean by talking about what to do to survive an encounter with the police.
The commission, which released its final report last week, found that Pentagon officials did not deliberately hold back on sending the National Guard to the Capitol, but that “conflicting messages” caused a delayed response, according to The Hill.
The report found that former President Donald Trump also “had the authority and responsibility to directly deploy” the D.C. National Guard, but “never gave an order to deploy them” and did not request assistance from federal law enforcement.
The report described: “Although the evidence identified a possible misunderstanding among members of the civilian leadership in the Department of Defense that affected the timing of deployments, the Committee found no evidence that the Department of Defense intentionally delayed the deployment of the National Guard.”
Walker said in his testimony that — compared to protests over the death of George Floyd in 2020 — officials, including the secretary of the Army and the secretary of defense, did not call him when rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in compared to the constant calls he got last summer.
“I think the response would have been different, a much harsher response, I think there would have been a lot more bloodshed,” he said. “You know, as a law enforcement officer there was — I saw enough where I probably would have used deadly force.”
Then-President-elect Joe Biden also shared similar thoughts as Walker during a speech the day after the attack.
“No one can tell me that if a Black Lives Matter group had protested yesterday … they wouldn’t have been treated much, much differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” Biden said.
“We all know that’s true. And it is unacceptable – completely unacceptable. The American people saw it straight, and I hope it sensitized them to what we need to do.
Walker, a retired U.S. Army major general, noted that “the intelligence was there” to know January 6 would be a “big deal.”
“You don’t need intelligence. I mean, everybody knew that people were directed to come there by the president. November was preparation, December was training, and January 6 was execution,” Walker said.
“Personally, I, William Joseph Walker, not General Walker, thought it was just very different. The National Guard is not called out in December. The National Guard is not called out in November. And I watched on TV the difference in people coming to the Capitol in November. And if you’re watching the movie and those same bands are back in December, you better brace yourself. You better prepare yourself.