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New Capitol Police Chief Apologizes, Says They Knew of “Strong Potential for Violence” on Jan 6th

In prepared remarks to the House Appropriations Committee, Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman acknowledged her department’s “failings” during the January 6th assault on the Capitol that killed five people, including Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, and said the entire force “fully expects to answer to you and the American people.”

Pittman described the events as a “terrorist attack” and said the department “should have been more prepared.” She said police knew two days before that “there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.”

TOPSHOT – Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. – Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

In her first congressional testimony following the January 6th attacks, Pittman told the committee that former Chief Steven Sund had asked the Capitol Police Board, a three-member oversight body, to declare a state of emergency on January 4th in advance of President Donald Trump’s rally on the Ellipse and to request National Guard troops to protect the Capitol. Pittman said the board denied both requests.

 

She said on the day of the insurrection, Sund again “lobbied the Board for authorization to bring in the National Guard, but he was not granted authorization for over an hour.”

Pittman did not offer an explanation for the Board’s decisions. Also unclear is the sequence of decisions made at the Pentagon during the afternoon of the assault. Pittman did not address those. The D.C. National Guard is nominally under the command of the president but operates on the orders of the secretary of the Army and secretary of defense.

Pittman said the Capitol Police were successful in their core responsibility, protecting members of Congress. But she acknowledged a number of operational failures and noted complaints from officers that communications were poor during the assault.

“I am here to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of the Department,” Pittman said.



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