Race is a big factor in the way cops handled Wednesday's coup, especially when juxtaposed against the way law enforcement dealt with the BLM protests after George Floyd's death .. so says, Sheriff Chris Swanson.
Sheriff Swanson, who famously put down his baton and helmet to join BLM protesters in solidarity this summer in Michigan's Flint Township, joins us on "TMZ Live" Friday to give his perspective on the Capitol riots from the eyes of law enforcement.
He says there's no denying -- as Michelle Obama pointed out -- police handled the situation with pro-Trump protesters much differently than they did last summer with BLM demonstrators.
Sherriff Swanson says the way Capitol Police lines were breached so easily is evidence of personal biases among officers ... and he says if that happened on his watch, he would be handing out pink slips left and right, with an eye toward criminal prosecution.
He also thinks police should be better prepared for protests, and not by loading up on riot gear ... he says it's not about responding to chaos, but getting to know the community. Remember, he did this back in Michigan and was widely praised for it.
While Wednesday's optics were gut-wrenching and frightening ... Sheriff Swanson's got some ideas on how to restore calmness to a weary nation.