Washington, DC – The Capitol Police union called for the acting chief to be replaced on Wednesday after she admitted department leadership had known about the coming incident and failed to prepare properly for the Capitol riot that left one officer dead and another 140 police officers injured.
The move came after U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman formally apologized to Congress on Tuesday for her department’s failure to properly prepare for the events on Jan. 6.
“On Jan. 6, 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,” the acting chief told members of Congress.
Then she said that Capitol Police officials had been told what was coming that day but failed to adequately prepare for the potential of violent protests, according to The Hill.
“By Jan. 4, the department knew that the Jan. 6th event would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020,” she admitted. “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.”
The USCP Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) put out a statement that said they were “shocked” after Chief Pittman made what they called her “startling admission.”
USCP FOP Chairman Gus Papathanasiou expressed his outrage in the press release.
“We have one officer who lost his life as a direct result of the insurrection,” Papathanasiou said. “Another officer had 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 who have sustained brain injuries,” the union boss continued. “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.”
NEW: SCATHING STATEMENT from Capitol Police union on failed leadership in department before and during Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol: pic.twitter.com/YbXM4fvPzc
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) January 27, 2021
“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,” the statement read. “The fact they did not relay this information to the officers on duty prior to the insurrection is inexcusable.”
While Chief Pittman wasn’t chief when the Capitol riot occurred, her lack of leadership that day has infuriated the rank-and-file in the department.
“Acting Chief Pittman stated that she ordered the lockdown,” Papathanasiou pointed out. “To be clear, it was actually Inspector Loyd who initially ordered the Capitol lockdown approximately 1 hour prior to Chief Pittman’s order. That was the only time that day I heard Acting Chief Pittman on the radio.”
The union boss mocked Chief Pittman in the press release for blaming the problems on the radio system and said the real problem was the failure to lead by police brass.
“They failed to share key intelligence with officers in advance, they failed to prepare adequately, they failed to equip our officers with a plan and on that very day, they failed to lead,” Papathanasiou said.
“This was not a ‘whole Department’ failure, but a leadership failure,” he added.
The union called for all of the top USCP leadership to be held accountable and said they wanted a new chief appointed from within their ranks.
“The officers are angry, and I don’t blame them,” Papathanasiou said. “The entire executive team failed us, and they must be held accountable. Their inaction cost lives.”