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Capitol Police union calls for acting chief to resign after Jan. 6 report

The Capitol Police union is calling on acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman and the force's other senior leaders to step down in the wake of a Senate report this week that outlined the security failures leading up to and on the day of the Jan. 6 riot.

The joint report from the Senate Rules Committee and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee found that warnings of violence were poorly circulated and underestimated by top leaders in multiple security agencies, including the Capitol Police.

Gus Papathanasiou, the chairman of the Capitol Police union, said in a statement late Wednesday that the report confirmed how Capitol Police leadership failed to protect rank-and-file officers on the day of the Capitol attack.

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"If our leaders had done their jobs, we would not have suffered more than 80 serious injuries within the USCP [Capitol Police] and an additional 70 injuries suffered by MPD [Metropolitan Police Department] officers," Papathanasiou said.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died a day after engaging with the mob of former President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE's supporters, while two other officers on duty at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood and Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith — later died by suicide.

“The time has come for those in senior leadership who failed us, to stand aside. It is not enough to scapegoat others. Those most responsible, including Acting Chief Pittman who was in charge of intelligence prior to the insurrection, need to step aside for the good of the department. As the Senate report found, our leadership failed us and we paid a horrible price," Papathanasiou said Wednesday.

The Capitol Police union has previously issued calls for Pittman's ouster. Pittman was serving as assistant chief for protective and intelligence operations on the day of the riot before becoming acting chief once her predecessor, Steven Sund, resigned.

In February, the union issued a no-confidence vote for the force's top leaders, including Pittman.

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The Capitol Police is currently in the process of searching for a new permanent chief, but it's not clear when that hiring decision will be made.

The agency announced Thursday that it has hired retired U.S. Secret Service Agent Wesley Schwark to oversee planning for major events that require enhanced security measures.

One of the recommendations in the Senate report was for the Capitol Police to be required to establish operational plans for special events. According to the investigation, the agency “could not provide the committees any documents showing where officers were located at the start of the attack and how that changed throughout the attack."

"The most comprehensive description" of the Capitol Police's operational plans going into the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 to certify the presidential election results, the Senate report said, was a four-page document prepared for agency leadership to brief lawmakers about security enhancements.

Papathanasiou warned that morale is low within the Capitol Police ranks and that the police force urgently needs to boost its retention and recruiting efforts. He noted that the agency is more than 200 officers below its authorized level, while about 70 officers have left the force since Jan. 6.

"Officers are already working 6-day weeks. They are already working double shifts. If Congress does not act, the older officers will retire as soon as they are eligible, and the younger officers will simply go to other agencies. We literally will not have enough officers to accomplish our mission. It is that serious," Papathanasiou said.