Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol Police chief apologizes for failures during Jan. 6 siege

the capitol surrounded by police tape

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Acting Chief of U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Yogananda Pittman told Congress on Tuesday that the department "failed to meet its own high standards" during the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, referring to the event as a "terrorist attack," and they did not take the necessary steps to address the "strong potential for violence," according to prepared remarks obtained by CNN.

Why it matters: The pro-Trump riot at the Capitol earlier this month resulted in five deaths, including the death of a Capitol police officer, dozens of arrests and the resignation of former USCP Chief Steven Sund.

  • The incident has prompted multiple investigations into USCP and whether they were adequately prepared to handle anticipated demonstrations.

What she's saying: Pittman wrote in prepared remarks, "In the face of a terrorist attack by tens of thousands of insurrectionists determined to stop the certification of Electoral College votes, the Department failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours."

  • "Although the Department fulfilled its mission of protecting Members and democracy ultimately prevailed, the insurrectionists’ actions and the Department’s inability to immediately secure the U.S. Capitol emboldened the insurrectionists and horrified millions of American."
  • "We fully expect to answer to you and the American people for our failings on January 6th. I am here to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of the Department."

Details: Pittman goes on to offer her detailed assessment of USCP's response to the attack.

  • She argued the department needed "much more manpower than what was available" and that a pipe bomb found nearby just before the riots severely diluted USCP resources.
  • Pittman also argued a delayed authorization for the National Guard to back-up USCP contributed to the chaos.
  • The acting chief also said supply management was an issue, with some supplies not being "staged for easy access" and causing the department "to send in personnel to reload our officers."
  • Pittman lastly notes that lockdown procedures "may not have been consistently followed" and that officers say radio communication during the attack was difficult to manage.

Of note: Pittman did defend her officers, stating, "I want to stress that the vast majority of Capitol Police officers who were on the front lines on January 6th performed valiantly in the face of extraordinary violence."

  • "They held off the attackers long enough for us to evacuate the House and Senate Chambers and lead the Members and staff to safety. These officers are heroes."

Read Pittman's statement.

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