Capitol Police rejected offer for help from National Guard days before deadly riot: report
The U.S. Capitol Police turned down offers for support from the National Guard and the FBI to help manage what ended up becoming a massive Capitol security breach carried out by a mob of pro-Trump supporters.
Capitol Police were contacted by the Pentagon three days before the planned event to see if they needed assistance from the National Guard, The Associated Press reports. Then as the rioters fell upon the Capitol, leaders from the Justice Department reached out to see if they needed assistance from FBI agents. Sources close to matter told the AP that both offers were turned down.
Despite ordering more personnel to be present in preparation for the event, Capitol Police still found themselves overwhelmed when rioters began breaking into the Capitol, smashing windows and vandalizing offices.
Multiple lawmakers expressed shock and outrage at the apparent failure in security that occurred Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that a “painstaking investigation” would commence into Capitol security protocols.
The chief of Capitol Police, Steven Sund, resigned on Thursday, hours after the House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, tendered his resignation.
Civil rights groups and activists have criticized the police for an apparent double standard that was used when dealing with the predominantly white pro-Trump rioters.
Newly-elected Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said Wednesday evening that she believed the response would have been drastically different had the rioters been “Black and brown.”
“Had it been people who look like me, had it been the same amount of people, but had they been Black and brown, we wouldn’t have made it up those steps,” said the congresswoman, calling the rioters’ actions a form of “white privilege.”
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also pointed out the double standard in an address Thursday.
“The challenge we are facing in our country is about more than the actions of the few we watched yesterday,” Harris said. “It’s about how to reform, how to transform a justice system that does not work equally for all. A justice system that is experienced differently depending on whether you are white or Black.
“We witnessed two systems of justice when we saw one that let extremists storm the United States Capitol and another that released tear gas on peaceful protesters last summer,” she continued. “The American people have expressed, rightly, outrage. We know this is unacceptable.”
Critics have pointed out that the National Guard was deployed against Black Lives Matter protesters last summer in order to clear the area for President Trump to take a photo in front of St. John’s Church.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) condemned the security forces on Thursday, saying he was “embarrassed” and “disgusted” that the breach happened.
“They could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all. They could’ve destroyed the government,” Graham said to reporters. “Lethal force should have been used. … We dodged a major bullet. If this is not a wake up call, I don’t know what is.”
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