Capitol rioters say an officer told them 'it's your house now'

The U.S. Capitol Building, Jan. 6, 2021, Tyler Merbler

The U.S. Capitol riots took place more than one week ago but the FBI is still uncovering details about the grim historic event. According to The Hill, two of the rioters arrested for storming the U.S. Capitol have revealed a Capitol police officer actually told them "it's your house now" as they breached the federal building.

A criminal complaint filed on Thursday, Jan. 14 outlines FBI agents' interview with Robert Bauer, of Cave City, Va., and his cousin Edward Hemenway, Winchester, Va., two men who admitted that they were among the pro-Trump mob that entered the building as lawmakers worked to certify the Electoral College vote. The two recounted what occurred that day as they recalled their discussion with the officer.

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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