Capitol Police Knew About the Riot in Advance, Did Nothing
The union representing Washington DC’s Capitol Police is up in arms following a shocking revelation by Capitol Police Chief Yogananda D. Pittman. The department’s leadership knew as early as January 4th that armed rioters were likely to approach Congress on January 6th.
In Pittman’s words, they “knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.”
Top brass also knew that “militia and white supremacist organizations would be attending.”
They were also aware that some of them “were intending to bring firearms and other weapons.”
Why they did not share this information with rank-and-file cops is a mystery they must solve.
“The fact they did not relay this information to the officers on duty prior to the insurrection is inexcusable,” argues Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the Capitol Police Labor Committee. “The officers are angry and I don’t blame them. The entire executive team failed us and they must be held accountable. Their inaction cost lives.”
Nearly 140 officers were hurt during the attack. Injuries ranged from scratches and bruises to brain damage and the loss of an eye. One police officer and four civilians died. Officers Howard Liebengood and Jeffrey Smith committed suicide in the days following the riot.
Pittman has blamed issues with radio communication for the lack of preparedness during the attack. But it’s clear the problem was something else.
“The real communications breakdown was silence from our leadership, before the insurrection and while it was underway,” argues Papathanasiou. “They failed to share key intelligence with officers in advance, they failed to prepare adequately, they failed to equip our officers with a plan and on that very day, they failed to lead.”
Many officers did not even have helmets to wear before responding to the riot.
The revelation that Pittman and other members of the executive team “knew what was coming but did not better prepare us for potential violence, including the possible use of firearms against us, is unconscionable,” continues Papathanasiou. “Our union has long advocated for more training, more staff and better equipment, only to be repeatedly ignored by our leadership.”
Papathanasiou is asking that Pittman be removed from her position and that the future chief be promoted from within the department so that he or she is “shovel ready” on Day 1.
Author’s Note: It is also possible that congressional leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) failed to make preparations so that things would get out of hand. The bigger the stink, the more they could lay at the feet of Donald Trump.