The union representing Capitol Police officers issued a fiery statement Wednesday demanding the resignation of acting Chief Yogananda Pittman and saying that the department’s leadership must pay the price for failures during the Capitol incursion.
Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, said a joint Senate committee report showed that Pittman, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and other department leaders failed to act on information in their possession that could have changed the course of events on Jan. 6, NBC News reported. Sund resigned following the incursion.
“Those most responsible, including Acting Chief Pittman who was in charge of intelligence prior to the insurrection, need to step aside for the good of the department,” he said. “As the Senate report found, our leadership failed us and we paid a horrible price.”
The report said that Capitol Police leaders were aware that even before Jan. 6, rioters were trying to determine how they could use Capitol complex tunnels to infiltrate the building and target congressional Democrats.
Despite having the information, no action was taken to prepare, or respond, the report said.
Capitol Police “knew about social media posts calling for violence at the Capitol on January 6, including a plot to breach the Capitol, the online sharing of maps of the Capitol Complex’s tunnel systems, and other specific threats of violence,” the report said.
The report said the intelligence division of the Capitol Police “did not convey the full scope of known information to USCP leadership, rank-and-file officers, or law enforcement partners.”
The report also said that officers felt abandoned by their leaders as they issued appeals for assistance that yielded little to no response.
“Front line Officers did their jobs that day performing heroically to ensure every single Member of Congress and their staff reached safety. If our leaders had done their jobs, we would not have suffered more than 80 serious injuries within the USCP and an additional 70 injuries suffered by MPD officers,” Papathanasiou said, according to WJLA-TV.
“The time has come for those in senior leadership who failed us, to stand aside. It is not enough to scapegoat others.”
Papathanasiou added the Capitol Police’s numbers are dwindling and said roughly 70 officers have left the department since the incursion.
“We literally will not have enough officers to accomplish our mission. It is that serious. The Support for Law Enforcement here at the USCP and nationwide must be top priority for our lawmakers,” he said.
“We are rapidly approaching a crisis. We are already down more than two hundred officers below our authorized level.”
The Capitol Police union responds to the Jan 6 Senate report & continues to sound the alarm on manpower protecting Congress: “We are rapidly approaching a crisis. We are already down more than two hundred officers below our authorized level…” pic.twitter.com/0unoDu42Pq
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) June 10, 2021
The union’s disenchantment with Pittman is nothing new.
“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,” Papathanasiou said in a January statement, according to Axios.
In February, the union announced that 92 percent of members participating in a recent ballot voted that they had no confidence in Pittman.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.