American News Feb 16, 2021 6:16 AM EST

US Capitol Police vote no confidence in leadership

The US Capitol Police Labor Committee, the union that represents US Capitol Police officers, announced Monday night that 92 percent of the officers voted that they had no confidence in Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman.

US Capitol Police vote no confidence in leadership
Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA
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The US Capitol Police Labor Committee, the union that represents the US Capitol Police (USCP) officers, announced Monday night that 92 percent of the officers voted that they had no confidence in Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman. According to CBS News, “substantial majorities also voted no confidence in six other top leaders in the department.”

The vote was scheduled last week in the aftermath of the riot at the US Capitol on January 6. 81 Capitol police officers were assaulted during the riot. 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." One officer died and two others committed suicide following the January 6 assault on the Capitol.

USCP Chief Steven Sund 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.

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 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.

The union said in a news release, "Capitol Police offers have delivered an overwhelming vote of No Confidence in the senior leadership of the U.S. Capitol Police. 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 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."

Pittman released a statement in response to the no-confidence vote Monday night. "It's been just over one month since one of our nation's darkest days, and the trauma is still incredibly raw and difficult for the many officers who fought heroically on the 6th. Since being sworn in on January 8th, my executive team and I have made the well-being of our officers our top priority. While progress has been made, more work remains. And I am committed to ensuring every officer gets what they need and deserve."

Meanwhile, the several thousand National Guard troops, that were deployed in Washington DC to provide security for the Jan. 20 inauguration, could remain in place until the fall.

The National Security Council, led by President Joe Biden, has reportedly asked the Department of Defense to develop a plan for the remaining Guardsmen in DC. There is a meeting for agencies to discuss the activity of the leftover guardsmen scheduled for Wednesday, February 17th, Fox 5 reported.

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