Unpacking 1619 – White Supremacist Police at January 6th with Vida Johnson

Professor Vida Johnson discusses her 2022 Brooklyn Law Review article, White Supremacy’s Police Siege on the United States Capitol. Professor Johnson details the failures of the Capitol Police, the unsettling involvement of active law enforcement officers in the January 6th Insurrection, and how White Supremacists continue to infiltrate and plague police departments. The difference in police preparation, presence, and intervention between the Jan. 6 and Black Lives Matter protests is instructive on how police view these protesters, messages, and meanings. After diagnosing the issues, Professor Johnson outlines some suggestions on how to simply and immediately address these disturbing trends within the police forces.

Professor Johnson, prior to joining Georgetown University Law Center, was a supervising attorney in the Trial Division at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), where she worked for eight years. At PDS Ms. Johnson was assigned to the most serious cases at the “Felony One” level, and her experience included numerous trials in D.C. Superior Court representing indigent clients facing charges including homicide, sexual assault, and armed offenses. Ms. Johnson’s responsibilities at PDS also included supervising other trial attorneys and serving as one of the agency’s two representatives to the D.C. Superior Court Sentencing Guidelines Commission. In 2009, Ms. Johnson was a Visiting Associate Professor in the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center.