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Politics Capitol Police Intensely Scrutinized for Failing to Stop Mob

04:30  08 january  2021
04:30  08 january  2021 Source:   bloomberg.com

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The U.S. Capitol Police force, which uses a roster fit for a mid-sized city to defend a compact 270-acre campus, is under a type of scrutiny it’s rarely seen in two centuries of existence. Outmatched officers failed to prevent a mob of President Donald Trump supporters from invading the Capitol Wednesday

The U.S. Capitol Police force was caught unprepared by a mob of pro-Trump extremists on Wednesday, in a failure to protect the seat of Video on social media showed one policeman desperately trying to hold back more than a dozen protesters as they ran up the stairs inside the

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Capitol Police force, which uses a roster fit for a mid-sized city to defend a compact 270-acre campus, is under a type of scrutiny it’s rarely seen in two centuries of existence.

Outmatched officers failed to prevent a mob of President Donald Trump supporters from invading the Capitol Wednesday, sending lawmakers fleeing for safety. The fallout has been swift, with Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund saying he’ll resign effective Jan. 16. House Sergeant at Arms, Paul Irving, who plays a role in overseeing the police, also quit.

But even as the force defended its actions as heroic, lawmakers are calling for investigations and demanding answers for the force’s failure.

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As a charged mob of pro-Donald Trump rioters breached the US Capitol ’s first ring of defence and swarmed inside, dramatic footage has emerged of a As protesters stormed the building, clashing with the police on the outside steps, the session that was in the middle of debating the first objection to the

“What the hell?” tweeted Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, after Wednesday’s violence. She said Sund had assured her days earlier that “the terrorists would not be allowed on the plaza & Capitol secured” and called for an investigation.

a group of people walking down the street: Protests As Joint Session Of Congress Confirms Presidential Election Result © Bloomberg Protests As Joint Session Of Congress Confirms Presidential Election Result

Police attempt to clear protesters trying to breach the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

The storming of the Capitol brought unusual focus on a department known locally for scanning visitors to the building and for enforcing traffic laws nearby streets. At the same time, the officers protect Congress, their staff and visitors.

Capitol Police said reports that an officer died from injuries sustained during Wednesday’s attack on the building were inaccurate. Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota had said on Twitter he was advised an officer had died.

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Donald Trump supporters seen inside US Capitol after storming police barricades.

The U.S. Capitol Police did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Police announced to those still outside the Capitol shortly after 6 p.m., “A curfew is now in effect. Throughout his term, critics have accused President Trump of failing to sufficiently reject support from white-supremacist

“Although some officers were injured and hospitalized yesterday, no USCP officers have passed away,” Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the police force, said in an emailed statement.

Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat and chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, said she plans to help lead an inquiry into the Capitol Police’s response to the Trump supporters who occupied and vandalized the building.

“I have very serious concerns about the security response to this mob,” Lofgren told reporters. “We can’t allow terrorists to come in and invade the Capitol of the United States. It’s completely unacceptable. We’ve got to prevent that from happening again.”

The storming of the Capitol also left rank and file members of the force “frustrated and demoralized by the lack of leadership,” the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee said in a news release reported by Politico.

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Protesters clashed with police , tear gas was dispersed and one woman died after being shot inside the Capitol , while three other people died after suffering “His comments directly led to the violence and so far he has failed to condemn that violence and that is completely wrong,” the Home Secretary said.

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“Lack of planning led to the greatest breach of the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812,” police union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in the news release, referring to the British forces burning the building in 1814.

The force is responsible for maintaining order while protecting the Capitol, which sits in a 58-acre park at one end of Washington’s Mall. The Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial can be seen in the distance from the Capitol’s west side, where Democrat Joe Biden is to be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

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Demonstrators steal a Metropolitan Police riot shield outside the U.S. Capitol building.

Photographer: Eric Lee/Bloomberg

Most visitors to lawmakers or to the Capitol encounter Capitol Police officers at checkpoints that include metal detectors at entrances to House and Senate office buildings. Each year the Capitol is visited by 3 million to 5 million people from around the world.

The force can figure prominently in reining in demonstrations, such as the July 2017 arrest of the Reverend Raphael Warnock as he was singing and praying during a protest in a Senate office building. Warnock was elected to the Senate this week from Georgia.

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But its activities often are cloaked in secrecy, said David Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress who spent two years studying the Capitol Police.

“Most police forces have transparency and accountability mechanisms. The Capitol Police doesn’t operate that way,” Schuman said in an interview.

The force isn’t required by law to respond to public information requests, Schuman said in a June letter to Congress. It doesn’t publish an annual report on its activities, nor does it publish reports from its oversight body, the Capitol Police Board, or its Inspector General, Schuman said in the letter.

Arrest statistics over two years show that half the incidents, or 348, were traffic-related infractions, and another 14%, or 106, were drug-related, according to the study. About one in eight arrests took place within a block of Union Station, a train depot more than half a mile from the Capitol.

The force has seen its budget expand fourfold, from $119 million annually to $516 million, over the past 25 years. It has about 2,450 employees including around 2,000 officers, and absorbs one-tenth of Congress’s administrative budget, according to an analysis by Demand Progress.

The size of the Capitol Police’s budget is comparable to that of the city of San Antonio, Texas, with a population of 1.5 million. The workforce size eclipses that of major city departments like New Orleans and Miami, according to Demand Progress’s study.

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For all that, the Capitol Police were caught short on Wednesday.

“They didn’t have enough resources to deal with any potential problems. Why they didn’t call for extra help, have them standing by, I have no idea,” said Charles Ramsey, former police chief of Washington, D.C.

He noted that the Capitol Police has mutual aid agreements with the D.C. metropolitan police and law enforcement in Maryland. Historically, the Capitol Police has communicated effectively with those other organizations.

“They’ve always been well-trained, well-run, well-led,” Ramsey said in an interview. “I don’t know what the hell happened.”

Lofgren said she asked about the line of command and coordination with the National Guard ahead of the Wednesday riot.

“We were told that was all in place, and there was no doubt that they were completely able to keep us secure in the Capitol,” Lofgren said. “That was not correct. Not only were they not prepared, but what they told me about the National Guard was just not true. The guard was not even activated.”

(Updates with Capitol Police disputing reports officer died)

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FBI looking for man in Senate with zip ties, tactical gear; experts call him a rioter 'hunting for people' .
Holding zip-tie handcuffs, a man in paramilitary gear who moved through the Senate Chamber during the Capitol riot alarms counter-terrorism experts.The man was not with security, who'd recently evacuated U.S. Senators and Vice President Mike Pence from the floor below. Experts say he was among the rioters who disrupted U.S. Congress's certification of Trump's election loss with violence, resulting in five fatalities to date.

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