Capitol police turned down help from DOJ and Pentagon before riot started
Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF
- The Capitol Police declined several offers of reinforcement from federal agencies including the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice, the Associated Press reported.
- Rioters overran the Capitol Police and occupied the Capitol Building and surrounding grounds for a total of four hours.
- Several federal agencies and police departments from other states ended up responding to help take control of the riot at the Capitol Building.
Days before the Capitol riot, both the Pentagon and the Department of Justice offered to send reinforcements to aid the Capitol Police who declined both agencies’ efforts, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
The Capitol Police prepared for First Amendment demonstrations even with several indications that a riot could occur, the AP reported. The Pentagon offered support from the National Guard three days before the riot and the Department of Justice (DOJ) offered to send in FBI agents as rioters advanced toward the Capitol on Wednesday.
Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said he anticipated “First Amendment activities” not a “violent attack,” the AP reported.
The leader of the Capitol Police union, Gus Papathanasiou, blamed failures in planning beforehand for leaving the officers exposed without reinforcements against the rioters, the AP reported.
“We were lucky that more of those who breached the Capitol did not have firearms or explosives and did not have a more malign intent,” Papathanasiou said, the AP reported. “Tragic as the deaths are that resulted from the attack, we are fortunate the casualty toll was not higher.”
Five people died, including a rioter inside of the building who was shot by police and a Capitol Police officer, according to multiple reports.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said it was obvious that the Capitol Police were overrun by rioters with no contingency plans in place since they had turned down assistance from the Department of Defense, the AP reported.
“They’ve got to ask us, the request has to come to us,” McCarthy said, according to the AP. He said that official estimates of crowd sizes were “all over the board,” ranging from 2,000 to 80,000.
It’s unknown how many of the Capitol’s 2,300 police officers were present Wednesday, the AP reported.
“Was there a structural feeling that well, these are a bunch of conservatives, they’re not going to do anything like this? Quite possibly,” former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said, the AP reported. “That’s where the racial component to this comes into play in my mind. Was there a lack of urgency or a sense that this could never happen with this crowd? Is that possible? Absolutely.”
Democratic D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested aid from the National Guard on Dec. 31, though Capitol Police turned down the offer on Jan. 3, the AP reported. The DOJ and FBI said they expected large crowds after monitoring flights, hotels and social media for weeks before the events
Law enforcement officials from the Metropolitan Police Department, nearly every branch of the DOJ including the FBI, the Secret Service and the Federal Protective Service all responded to the Capitol, the AP reported. Police from New Jersey also showed up at the scene, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deployed two tactical teams.
The Capitol Police did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.