Washington (AFP) – Despite the many warnings about the pro-Trump demonstrations in Washington, the US Capitol Police did not support its staff on Wednesday and made no preparations for the possibility of the planned protests escalating into violent riots, according to several people familiar with the law. Enforcement response.
This revelation shed light on why rioters had overrun Capitol Police. The department had the same number of officers in office on a typical day. While some of these officers were equipped with protest gear, they were not equipped or equipped for rioting.
Once the mob began moving towards the Capitol, a police lieutenant issued an order not to use lethal force, which would explain why officers outside the building did not pull their weapons as the crowd approached. Officers are sometimes asked not to escalate the situation by withdrawing their weapons if their superiors think doing so could lead to a stampede or exchange of fire.
In this case, it also left the officers with little ability to resist the mobs. In one of the videos from the scene, an officer raised his fists in an attempt to fend off a crowd of people hanging him and his colleagues from the door. The crowd chanted, “You’re not an American!” And a man tries to spur him with an American flag head.
“They were left naked,” Rep. Maxine Waters, D. California. He said about the police in an interview with The Associated Press. She had raised security concerns at the Dec. 28 meeting of Democrats in the House of Representatives and questioned Stephen Sound, the head of Capitol Police, during an hour-long private New Year’s Eve call. “It turned out to be the worst kind of insecurity anyone could ever imagine.”
The capitol police’s lackluster response to riots, poor planning, and the failure to anticipate the seriousness of the threat sparked condemnation from lawmakers and prompted the ouster of the circuit chief and watchdog in both the House and Senate.
As the full extent of the insurgency becomes clear, the FBI is also investigating whether some of the rioters have plans to kidnap members of Congress and take them hostage.
Investigators are particularly focused on why some of them appeared with zipped plastic handcuffs and apparently reached areas of the Capitol that were difficult for the public to identify, according to an official.
The official was among four officials who were briefed about Wednesday’s incident and who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly.
Larry Rendel Brooke, Texas, and Eric Gavlick Monchel, Tennessee, both of whom were photographed with plastic handcuffs during a storming of the Capitol, were arrested by the FBI on Sunday. Prosecutors said Brooke also wore a green helmet, tactical jacket and camouflage jacket.
The crowd that arrived in Washington on Wednesday was not a surprise. Trump has been urging his supporters to come to the capital, and some hotels are 100% booked – which set off alarm bells as Washington tourism has erupted amid the pandemic. Justice officials, the FBI and other agencies began monitoring flights and social media for weeks and were expecting huge crowds.
Police said the leader of the far-right Broad Boys group was arrested on his way to town with clips from landmark magazines emblazoned with the group’s logo. The clips were not uploaded, but he was planning to attend a rally near the White House.
However, Capitol Police commanders prepared for a free speech rally. No fences have been erected outside the Capitol and no contingency plans have been prepared in the event the situation escalates, according to people briefed.
Representative Jason Crowe, a Colorado Democrat, said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told lawmakers Sunday that the Department of Defense and law enforcement officials prepared for a crowd similar to the November and December protests in “a few thousand” and that they were preparing for small and disparate violent events, such as the stabbing. And fist fights. McCarthy also said that Sunde and Mayor Muriel Bowser called for urgent reinforcements from the Defense Department as the crowd rushed toward the officers, but “were unable to determine the resources needed and in which locations due to the chaos.”
Waters interrogates Sound about exactly these kinds of questions – about the proud boys and other groups coming, about their distance from Capitol Square. The police chief insisted they knew what they were doing.
“He kept assuring me that he controlled it – they knew what they were doing,” she said. “Either he was incompetent, or he was lying, or he was complicit.”
Those decisions left the officers guarding the Capitol building like seated ducks, officials said, with little guidance and no coherent plan on how to deal with the flow of rioters gushing into the building.
Department leaders also dispersed during the riots. The sheriff was accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence in a safe location, and other high-ranking officials were dispatched to the site of the bombs found outside the nearby headquarters of the National Republican and Democratic Committees.
Ashan Benedict, who leads the field division of the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Washington and was there that day, said the rioters had more equipment and were not afraid to use it.
“It appears they had more bear spray, pepper spray and chemical munitions than we have,” Benedict said. “We are coming up with plans to counter their chemical munitions with some of our least lethal devices, so these conversations are continuing as this mess unfolds before my eyes.”
The officers were criticized for their actions after clips of videos taken by rioters showed that some were demonstrating to take selfies, and he responded to the rioters’ shouting to get away so they could flow into the building.
But other videos show officers trying in vain to stop protesters from storming the building. One disturbing video shows a bloody Metropolitan Police officer screaming for help as protesters crush him inside the Capitol. The young officer is stuck between a riot shield and a metal door. Bleeding from his mouth and screaming in pain and shouting, “Help me.”
In another stunning video, a lone police officer tries to stop a crowd of protesters from storming the lobby. He failed.
An officer was killed in the riots and at least 12 were injured. Officials did not disclose the exact number of officers on duty due to concerns about the disclosure of operational details, but they emphasized that the numbers were on par with a routine protest and the day that lawmakers will attend.
Capitol Police officials briefed lawmakers ahead of Wednesday, saying they expected large numbers of protesters to attend a rally near the White House, but provided no indication that they were making preparations for a mass movement of the crowd to the Capitol, according to a Republican. Assistant Congress. However, they advised lawmakers to plan the use of the underground tunnels connecting the House office buildings to the Capitol Building.
Benedict was at the site of the bombing when Capitol Police captains told him that their officers had been overrun.
He immediately activated the Special Response Team that was standing by and began calling every ATF agent he worked with in Washington.
When they began to enter the Capitol complex at 2:40 pm, the corridors were crowded with rioters.
In the end, federal agents managed to secure the Capitol Rotunda.
“We have just started transporting crowds of people from the Capitol complex and then pass one by one, each room and one of the rooms, to identify friends who are enemies,” he said.
Associated Press writers Zek Miller, Lolita Baldur, Mike Balsamo, Alan Fram and Marie Claire Gallonique contributed to this report.