The union representing Capitol Police officers issued a scathing rebuke of department leadership Wednesday – calling the failure to prepare for potential violence on January 6 “unconscionable.”
The letter comes in response to testimony by acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman on Tuesday during a closed-door session of the House Appropriations Committee. That testimony included an acknowledgment that the department’s leadership was aware that militia groups and white supremacists would be attending, and that “there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.”
“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,” said Gus Papathanasiou, the chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, which represents more than 1,000 officers.
“I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries. 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,” Papathanasiou said in the statement.
“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 union leader added.
.”The fact they did not relay this information to the officers on duty prior to the insurrection is inexcusable.”
Five people, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, died as a result of the insurrection. Two officers that responded to the riots have committed suicide in the weeks since the riots, and 140 other officers were injured.