Armed blacks escort Michigan lawmaker into Capitol after white anti-lockdown protesters strike

Francis Akhalbey May 8, 2020 at 09:30am

May 08, 2020 at 09:30 am | News

Francis Akhalbey

Francis Akhalbey | Staff Writer

May 08, 2020 at 09:30 am | News

Rep. Sarah Anthony was escorted into the building a week after most armed white protesters stormed the building -- Screenshot via City Pulse Skyler on YouTube

A group of concerned African Americans bearing large rifles and ammunition escorted State Rep. Sarah Anthony into the Michigan State Capitol on Wednesday, the Lansing City Pulse reports.

This came a week after several largely white and armed anti-lockdown protesters carrying confederate flags, nazi symbols, nooses, among others, stormed the premises calling for the stay-at-home order not to be extended.

Anthony, who was in the building during that protest, shared a video of the tense incident on Facebook. She also revealed she was scared to leave the premises out of fear of being harassed.

The armed black escorts, exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms, decided to provide Anthony some security as she reported to work to attend committee meetings though she did not ask for it. She was, however, appreciative.

“We were all just appalled by the lack of support and lack of security that I had, that other legislators had, and the fact that a lot of the demonstrators last week were adorning many racist, anti-Semitic signage. I think it just triggered a lot of folks, especially African Americans,” she said.

Michael Lynn Jr., a Lansing firefighter and community activist, who was part of Anthony’s escort detail and saw her Facebook post of what transpired the previous week, told the news platform the reason behind their action was to prove people of color can also bear arms in public.

“We want to change the narrative, first of all. We want people to understand that people of color can come out here with guns just the same as anybody else can,” he said, later adding that he could “hear the fear in her voice during that protest.”

“It was the visual of her being that scared to go to work. It meant we had to do something. We came out here today to make sure we could provide some protection, even if it’s only just to make her feel better.”

Lynn also said the police could have reacted violently towards his group because they’re black had they been as aggressive as last week’s protesters.

“The majority of the protesters were white,” Anthony said. “I’m still not exactly sure on the connection between confederate flags and Nazi symbolism. They just had no connection to the stay-at-home orders. The fact they were carrying guns openly while we voted was unnerving.”

Anthony raised concerns about the lack of security for lawmakers during the demonstration, revealing an instance where one of the armed white protesters got so close to her face “she could smell his breath,” the Lansing City Pulse reports. She said it was only until last week that she got to know the Michigan Police could have escorted her to her car during the protest.

“It was just unnerving to me as a woman and as a person,” she said. “These community volunteers today won’t be needed all the time, but they wanted to have a presence today.”

Following last week’s protest, the Detroit Free Press reports the Michigan Capitol Commission is exploring the possibility of banning guns inside the Capitol.

According to The Lansing City Pulse, there are, however, questions surrounding the commission’s authority to restrict firearms in the building or if it would require an amendment of state law. As the debate goes on, Anthony and Lynn say they are totally against it.

“There are certain things that are just inappropriate,” Lynn said. “We don’t take guns in the courthouse. We don’t take guns into city hall. Why would we take guns of this caliber into the Capitol? I have 150 rounds on me right now. I could make terror. This could wreak havoc.”

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