Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol Police union says leadership failed the department

Capitol building
Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty

The U.S. Capitol Police department's failure to act on intelligence indicting possible violence on Jan. 6 "betrayed" the force's mission and was "inexcusable," the USCP union said in a statement on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Acting USCP chief 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 said they did not take the necessary steps to address the "strong potential for violence."

  • Pittman wrote in prepared remarks: "Let me be clear: the Department should have been more prepared for this attack. By January 4th, the Department knew that the January 6th event would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020."
  • She added, "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."

USCP union chair Gus Papathanasiou wrote in a statement that Pittman and other police leadership did not thoroughly relay these threats to officers working that day.

  • "The disclosure that the entire executive team (former Chief Sund, now Acting Chief Pittman, and Assistant Chief Thomas) knew what was coming but did not better prepare us for potential violence, including the possible use of firearms against us, is unconscionable," Papathanasiou wrote in a statement.

What to watch: Papathanasiou argued USCP leadership should be held accountable, stating, "They have a lot to atone for."

Go deeper