“The United States Capitol Police did not increase staffing or prepare for the possibility that planned protests could escalate into violent riots, according to people briefed on the police response to last week’s Capitol Hill riot, AP reported. .
Many have criticized the response from Capitol Police, questioning how officers were so quickly overrun by rioters that they stormed the building Wednesday when U.S. senators, representatives and the vice president presided over a vote to certify voters.
The staffing was the same as on a routine day, with only a few officers equipped to tackle a riot, it has now been revealed.
This came despite several warnings on social media of pro-Trump demonstrations in Washington.
A police lieutenant issued an order not to use deadly force, explaining why the officers did not draw their weapons when the mob approached the building. Officers are sometimes ordered not to aggravate a situation by drawing their weapons if it is believed it could lead to a shooting.
In this case, it left the officers with little ability to resist the mob.
“They were left naked,” said Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California. said of the police in an interview with AP. He had previously raised security concerns with Capitol Police.
“Turns out it was the worst kind of lack of security anyone could imagine.”
The lackluster response of the Capitol Police to the riots, poor planning, and an inability to anticipate the severity of the threat have led to condemnation by lawmakers and led to the removal of the department head and the House and House sergeants at arms. Senate.
As the full scope of the insurrection becomes clear, the FBI is also investigating whether some of the rioters had plans to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage.
Investigators are particularly focused on why some of them were seen wearing zip-lock plastic handcuffs and had apparently accessed areas of the Capitol generally difficult for the public to locate, according to an official.
The official was one of four officials briefed on Wednesday’s incident who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.
The FBI arrested two protesters Sunday who had plastic restraints when they stormed the Capitol.
Much of the criticism of the answer stems from the fact that it was overtly planned. Trump had been urging his supporters to come to the capital and some hotels had been booked at 100% capacity, sounding alarms as tourism in Washington has stalled amid the pandemic.
Justice officials, the FBI and other agencies began monitoring flights and social media for weeks and expected massive crowds.
A leader of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys was arrested while entering the city with clips of oversized magazines bearing the group’s logo, police said. The clips weren’t uploaded, but he was planning to attend a rally near the White House.
But no fences were erected outside the Capitol and no contingency plans were prepared in case the situation worsened, people briefed on the response told the AP.
Some high-ranking members of the police dispersed during the riots.
The police chief was with Vice President Mike Pence in a safe place, while other officials were dispatched to handle the bombs found outside the Republican and Democratic national committees.
Ashan Benedict, who heads the Washington Field Division for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was at the scene of the bomb when Capitol Police captains told him their officers were being overrun.
He immediately activated the waiting special response team and began calling all ATF agents working for him in Washington.
When they began to enter the Capitol complex at 2:40 p.m., the hallways were filled with rioters.
Finally, federal agents were able to secure the Capitol Rotunda. One officer was killed in the riot and at least a dozen were injured.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism