National Security

Watchdog: Mobs overwhelmed Park Police hours before Capitol was breached on Jan. 6

Rioters outside of the U.S. Capitol building
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Mobs overwhelmed U.S. Park Police hours before the U.S. Capitol was breached on Jan. 6, according to government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

According to Park Police radio recordings obtained by CREW, officers had been overwhelmed and left with insufficient resources to control crowds along the National Mall.  

The recordings reveal that Park Police were confronted with one crowd at the Washington Monument the morning of Jan. 6. The officers were told to do their best to hold them back, but the situation was worsening quickly.

“People are refusing to leave, uh, the only other thing I can think I can do is threaten arrest which is gonna incite the crowd so unless we get some officers up here I’m gonna standby,” one officer said.

As police attempted to close the monument around 9 a.m., protesters surrounded it.

Roughly 45 minutes after the situation at the Washington Monument, Park Police had to respond to another crowd of about 500 to 800 people at the Lincoln Memorial.  

When a unit of officers were called to respond to the situation at the Lincoln Memorial, they were told “monitor only.”

“Please do not take any type of enforcement action. Let it happen,” they were instructed. 

At the same time, another call from the Washington Monument came about a “white male walking around the flag circle with a pitchfork.” Still, officers were given instructions to “monitor only.”

Meanwhile, other units were responding to new protesters descended on the National Mall, some of which were armed. Just before former President Trump began his speech, an armed person in a tree was arrested at 11:48 a.m.

Protestors first breached the barriers of the Capitol building at 12:53 p.m. CREW obtained another email this week showing the Department of Homeland Security communicated to the Pentagon at 1:40 p.m. that day saying “no major incidents of illegal activity at this time.” 

The Hill has reached out to Park Police for comment.

More than 600 people were charged in connection to the Jan. 6 riot. NBC4 Washington has previously reported that Park Police raised concerns of gun incidents and other warnings as pro-Trump protesters made their way toward the Capitol.

Tags Centers for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Donald Trump Jan. 6 riots National Mall Park Police

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