Capitol Police confirm investigation into some officers’ behavior during riot

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The U.S. Capitol Police confirmed it is investigating some of its officers’ actions during the riot at the Capitol last week after the agency received scrutiny for its response.

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman released a statement on Monday saying the department is “actively reviewing video and other open source materials of some USCP officers and officials that appear to be in violation of Department regulations and policies.”

“Our Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination,” Pittman said. “Several USCP officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations.” 

The acting chief noted that the investigations surrounding the riots last Wednesday are being conducted in partnership with “numerous” law enforcement agencies. 

“The USCP, along with its law enforcement partners, are aggressively working to identify and arrest those involved in the destruction of property at the U.S. Capitol Complex,” she wrote. “It is our intention to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Pittman became the acting chief on Friday after former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund announced he would resign amid lawmaker pressure the day following the breach of the Capitol. 

Lawmakers and investigators are attempting to piece together what happened on Jan. 6 leading up to and during the security breach at the Capitol, which resulted in at least five deaths, including a Capitol Police officer and a woman shot by a different Capitol Police officer just outside the House chamber.

In her statement, Pittman said she wanted to “extend my gratitude for the kind words and prayers” the agency received in response to the deaths of Brian Sicknick, who died due to injuries sustained during the riot, and of another officer, Howard Liebengood, who also responded to the riot but died while off-duty over the weekend, according to The Washington Post.

“Officer Brian D. Sicknick and Officer Howard C. Liebengood were highly respected police officers, and both will be greatly missed,” she said. 

The Capitol Police and other responding law enforcement agencies have received criticism for what civil rights groups and others have pointed out was a double standard in how police responded to the riots compared to Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. 

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who chairs the funding committee that oversees the Capitol Police, told reporters on Monday that two Capitol Police officers had been suspended due to their actions during the raid. 

One of the officers suspended was an officer who had been shown in footage to be taking a selfie with one of the rioters, while the other had worn a “Make America Great Again” hat and gave directions to the mob. 

Another law enforcement official was arrested, but Ryan said he did not know if that person was a member of the Capitol Police. 

Ryan indicated that there was not evidence of a larger cooperation between police and the rioters.  

Last week’s events have sparked concerns about President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration slated for next week. Pittman said in her statement that there will not be public access to the Capitol grounds during the inauguration.

Tags Capitol Capitol breach Capitol police Capitol raid Capitol Riots Investigation Joe Biden Law enforcement Police suspended suspension Tim Ryan U.S. Capitol Police

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