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Former NYPD head calls for 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol riot

Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit
Commissioner, New York Police Department William Bratton speaks at 2016 Concordia Summit – Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 20, 2016 in New York City.

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Sunday urged for the creation of a commission similar to the one that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to investigate Wednesday’s pro-Trump riot at the Capitol. 

The world watched Wednesday as Trump supporters stormed the historic building, breaking windows and ransacking offices, as well as destroying artifacts and other structures. 

Five people died amid the chaos, including a woman who was shot by a Capitol Police officer and an officer who died after sustaining injuries while responding to the riot. Three others died after experiencing “medical emergencies” near the Capitol grounds.

During an interview with John Catsimatidis on his radio show on WABC 770 AM, Bratton said “it is quite clear” that law enforcement agencies were not prepared for the events that took place following a Trump rally on the National Mall. 

The Capital Police and other agencies that gather intelligence did a very poor job of understanding what that intelligence should have made them aware of — that there was a potential for exactly what happened,” said Bratton, who served two non-consecutive terms as the head of the NYPD from 1994-1996 and 2014-2016. 

“Unbelievable as it seems, the unbelievable happened,” he added. 

Bratton explained the need for a commission, arguing, “there was a colossal failure to collaborate and coordinate.” 

“The Capitol Police clearly underestimated what the event was going to be, the nature of the crowd, and made no plans to collaborate, cooperate, seek additional assistance until after the crowd showed up on their front doorstep. And then it was too late,” Bratton told Catsimatidis.

“I cannot believe that it happened in Washington because they’ve done this for 50 years,” Bratton continued. “They know how to deal with these demonstrations … They decided to go low-key on this. And that’s going to be part of the investigation. Why did they low-key it? Why were the officers not in riot gear? Why were there not more of them?”

This comes as Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) announced Friday that he’s introducing a bill that would create a commission to investigate the Capitol security failures as well as any ties between white supremacists and Capitol Police.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for the Capitol Police, also said Friday that he’s asked the police chief to provide all communications during the pro-Trump riots to investigate whether any officers assisted rioters.

The House Appropriations Committee announced earlier this week that it is launching a review of the law enforcement response to Wednesday’s insurrection. 

John Catsimatidis is an investor in The Hill.

Tags 9/11 Commission Bill Bratton Capitol breach Capitol Police Capitol riot Jamaal Bowman John Catsimatidis New York Police Department Tim Ryan Washington Washington D.C. William Bratton

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