U.S. Capitol Police officers have given an emphatic thumbs-down on the leader of the department installed after the Capitol incursion last month.
Former Chief Steven Sund, who was denounced by members of Congress and others after the incursion, resigned in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot. He was replaced by acting Chief Yogananda Pittman.
The U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, which represents Capitol Police officers, announced that 92 percent of those participating in a recent ballot voted that they had no confidence in Pittman, according to CBS News.
The vote also showed no confidence in other top leaders within the department, which is assigned to protect Capitol Hill and its environs, according to the report Tuesday.
“Capitol Police offers have delivered an overwhelming vote of No Confidence in the senior leadership of the U.S. Capitol Police,” the union said in a news release.
“The Executive Board of the Capitol Police Union called for rank-and-file members to consider a vote of no confidence late last week following the senior leadership’s mishandling of the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th,” the union said. “The board took this unprecedented step after reviewing details of the events on, and leading up to, January 6th and the subsequent deaths of 6 people, and injuries to approximately 140 Capitol and Metropolitan Police officers.”
“[O]ur leadership clearly failed us. We know because we were there,” union chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement, according to CBS News.
“The past week of the impeachment trial showed members of Congress and the entire country, devastating details of the violence that Capitol Police officers faced during the insurrection,” Papathanasiou said, according to Fox News. “It was the darkest day in the history of the department.”
The union chairman said there are leaders within the department who are better suited for leadership than Pittman and the rest of the current leadership team.
“We hope Congressional leaders and the entire Capitol Hill community understands that continuing with the current USCP leadership is not an option,” Papathanasiou said.
“The current leadership is just a continuation of the past regimes on this Department and there needs to be accountability. Their failures are inexcusable. This vote, which the majority of the officers in the bargaining unit participated in, shows they have lost our trust. The anger in this department is widespread and the trust that has been broken it is not going to be regained.”
Pittman has said the department knew before the pro-Trump rally that took place Jan. 6 that the demonstration would not be a typical protest. Democrats accused then-President Donald Trump of “inciting an insurrection” with his speech that day.
The extent of who knew what, and when, is the subject of a recent letter from House Republicans to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to Fox News.
The letter from House Administration Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis of Illinois, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan of Ohio, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer of Kentucky and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes of California seeks to find out what was done about Sund’s early warning about the Jan. 6 rally.
The former chief has said that two days before the rioting, he approached the House sergeants at arms seeking help from the National Guard. Sund has said former Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving voiced concerns about “the optics” of a Guard deployment and didn’t feel the “intelligence supported it.”
“As you are aware, the Speaker of the House is not only the leader of the majority party, but also has enormous institutional responsibilities,” they wrote, according to Fox News. “The Speaker is responsible for all operational decisions made within the House.”
“When then-Chief Sund made a request for national guard support on January 4th, why was that request denied?” the Republicans wrote. “Did Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving get permission or instruction from your staff on January 4th prior to denying Chief Sund’s request for the national guard?”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.