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Capitol Police Union: Leadership Failed Us

The attack killed one of their members, union is not happy with the department leadership

Kris LaGrange's picture
Jan 27, 2021

The January 6th attack on the US Capitol left dozens of Capitol police officers injured. One officer died from his injuries and two others who responded to the attack have committed suicide.

On Tuesday, Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman testified before the House Appropriations Committee about the department’s response to the January 6th attack. In her testimony, she admitted that the department knew that there was a strong potential for violence with armed militia groups and white supremacists organizations attending.

In a statement put out following Pittman’s testimony the Capitol Police Officer's Union said it was a "startling admission by Acting Chief Pittman and a disclosure that has angered and shocked the rank-and-file officers of the Capitol Police."

Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou went on to say “We have one officer who lost his life as a direct result of the insurrection. Another officer has tragically taken his own life. Between USCP and our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police Department, we have almost 140 officers injured."

Papthanasiou noted that even though the higher-ups within the department knew there might be violence, some officers were not issued basic protection like helmets. He noted that members received traumatic brain injuries, cracked ribs, and two smashed spinal discs. He said one officer will lose an eye, while another was stabbed with a metal fence stake. Some were even attacked with flagpoles that were recently carrying American and Blue Lives Matter flags.

"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," he said.

The inaction of the top leadership within the Capitol police has come under scrutiny since the attack. Reports have come out that they did not activate the National Guard for fear of bad optics, and many have said that the Capitol police were understaffed with a large, potentially violent protest on the National Mall.

The union says that the police leadership's failure to act shows that the leadership “betrayed their mission to protect Congress and failed the officers who serve with the Capitol Police.”

“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 added in the release. "This was not a ‘whole Department’ failure, but a leadership failure. The officers are angry, and I don’t blame them. The entire executive team failed us, and they must be held accountable. Their inaction cost lives.”

Hundreds of people have been arrested for taking part in the attack on the Capitol, although the person responsible for killing Officer Brian Sicknick has not yet been arrested. North America’s Building Trades Unions have put up a $100,000 reward for information into Sicknick’s killer.

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