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Capitol Police union accuses department leadership of failing officers during the riot

The union that represents the Capitol Police said that its leadership entirely failed officers during the U.S. Capitol riots that took place in early January.

What are the details?

According to a Wednesday report from NPR, the Capitol Police Labor Committee said that the force’s leadership “failed to relay the known threat of violence adequately ahead of the Jan. 6 deadly riot, calling the acting chief’s recent admission of prior knowledge of the threat to Congress a ‘disclosure that has angered and shocked the rank-and-file officers.'”

In Tuesday testimony, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said, “By January 4th, the Department knew that the January 6th event would likely not be like any of the protests held in 2020. We knew that militia groups and white supremacist organizations would be attending. We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.”

Pittman also apologized for the department’s “failings,” and said that former Chief Steven Sund requested the Capitol Police Board to declare a state of emergency for Jan. 6 and to request the assistance of the National Guard — a request that was reportedly denied.

In response to Pittman’s remarks, union head Gus Papathanasiou said that the revelation was “unconscionable.”

“We have one officer who lost his life as a direct result of the insurrection,” he began. “Another officer has tragically taken his own life. Between USCP and our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police Department, we have almost 140 officers injured. I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack and who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake.”

Papathanasiou added, “The disclosure that the entire 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. The entire executive team failed us, and they must be held accountable. Their inaction cost lives.”

After the riot, top security officials at the Capitol, including Sund; the House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving; and the Senate sergeant-at-arms, Michael Stenger, resigned their posts.

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