A month after the riot at the US Capitol which caused the death of one officer, COVID infections in others and injuries to many, it was revealed that the Capitol Police have no plan as to how to respond were there to be another riot. The union for the officers is preparing to hold a vote of "no confidence" in department leadership.
USCP Chief Steven Sund who resigned in disgrace following the Capitol riot, and his replacement, Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman, formally apologized to Congress for the failures on Jan. 6.
In her apology, Pittman acknowledged her department's failure to prepare for possibility of the Capitol riot and admitted that police command staff "knew that militia groups and white supremacist organizations would be attending."
"We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target."
According to CNN, the department's leadership still has not given officers a new plan for a response in case rioters try to breach the Capitol again. "After the events that occurred on the 6th, this department still doesn't have a contingency plan," the officer said.
"Their plan is to put the same officers back on the front line to risk their lives once again while they sit in their ivory towers and fail us once again." According to The Police Tribune, a vote of no confidence in Pittman has been scheduled for next week.
USCP Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a 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 statement read. "The fact they did not relay this information to the officers on duty prior to the insurrection is inexcusable."
"I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained head injuries," Papathanasiou added. "One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake, to name some of the injuries."
According to The Washington Post, 65 DC police officers "suffered concussions, swollen ankles and wrists, bruises, and irritated lungs from pepper spray." Other officers were "pushed down stairs, trampled and punched." A total of 81 Capitol police officers were assaulted during the riot.
"The officers are angry, and I don't blame them. The entire executive team failed us, and they must be held accountable," Papathanasiou said. "Their inaction cost one officer his life, and we have almost 140 responding officers injured. They have a lot to atone for."
According to The Police Tribune, "The US Capitol Police acting chief has apologized to Congress, but not her officers, for the department leadership’s failures leading up to and during the Capitol riot and morale in the rank-and-file has hit a new low."
Officers are still working 12-hour shifts while many of them are still recovering from injuries sustained in the riot. According to The Police Tribune, "Congress has asked for additional protection from the Capitol Police and officers will be deployed to DC-area train stations and airports on busy member travel days."
Officers are also concerned that command level staff will not support them in the event of another incident and are now counting the days until retirement.
"They need to let these guys know what to do if [protesters] come again… Whether they'd be supported if they upped the level of force," an unnamed officer told CNN.
"There were command-level people telling [officers] to put their sticks away. One came up and grabbed his arm… and said stop, stop, we don’t do that to protesters. Officers are confused, they’re getting mixed signals."
"These guys need to know if you get jumped on, are you going to back us up if I take out my stick? … [Officers] need to know what you want. Will you support us if we're in a hostile situation and we start busting people up the head?" he added.