Capitol Police recommend fence around Capitol stay up until September: report
Capitol Police officials have reportedly recommended to Congress that the seven-foot-tall security fence around the Capitol erected the day after the Jan. 6 attack should remain in place until September.
The Associated Press reported that a person familiar with the matter said the suggestion was made partially in response to continued threats against lawmakers and the Capitol in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot, during which multiple people died amid the chaos.
The source, who the AP reported was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity, said that the ongoing threats include online discussions among extremist groups about returning to the Capitol in the coming weeks.
The Hill has reached out to the Capitol Police for comment.
The reported proposal comes after acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman late last month called for fencing around the Capitol to become permanent, as well as for the increased availability of back-up security near the Capitol.
The proposal prompted bipartisan backlash from local leaders and members of Congress, with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) saying the city’s government “would not accept” permanent fencing around the Capitol and vowing it would come down “when the time is right.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) declared that she was “adamantly opposed” to fencing around the “People’s House,” while Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) said that “it is a mistake to turn the home of our democracy into a fortress.”
Earlier this month, 42 Republican House members sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging her to remove the fencing around the Capitol, writing, “It’s time for healing and it’s time for the removal of the fencing so the nation may move forward.”
This week, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the District of Columbia’s non-voting representative in Congress, officially introduced a bill seeking to prohibit the Capitol fencing from becoming permanent.
Norton in a statement announcing the proposal last week said the bill is meant to “help put the needed focus back on security options that don’t wall off the Capitol like a fortress that needs to be protected from the people we represent.”
The razor wire-topped fence has remained around the Capitol in the aftermath of the pro-Trump mob attack, and National Guard members remain on campus to provide support for the Capitol Police.
More than a hundred Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers sustained injuries ranging from bruises to concussions while responding to the rioting, and Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after being hit in the head by a fire extinguisher during the riot.
Two additional Capitol Police officers who responded to the rioting have since died by suicide.
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