Lawmakers have turned on the police in Washington, D.C., after the protest on January 6 got out of hand, questioning whether a lack of preparedness led to the chaos and vowing to investigate the actions of the police.
Turns out Representative Matt Gaetz may have been wrong in his assessment on the House floor during the second half of the debate over Arizona’s electors. “I sure am glad that at least for one day, I didn’t hear my Democrat colleagues calling to defund the police,” Rep. Gaetz said.
Lawmakers in D.C. were escorted out of the chambers during the protest, and protected by the police. None of them were injured. Instead of thanking the police for protecting them, they went on the attack.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was one of the first to criticize the police response to the protest. “Obviously it was a failure or you would not have had people enter the Capitol by breaking windows and terrorizing the members of Congress who were doing a very sacred requirement of their jobs,” the Democrat said.
California Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat and chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, said that “grave security concerns” were raised by the breach, announcing that her committee will be working with leaders in both chambers of Congress to review the police response and preparedness.
Florida Democrat Representative Val Demings, who is a former police chief, said that it was “painfully obvious” that the police “were not prepared” for what took place at the Capitol. “I certainly thought that we would have had a stronger show of force, that there would have been steps taken in the very beginning to make sure that there was a designated area for the protesters in a safe distance from the Capitol,” she added.
Speaking in an interview on MSNBC, Demings said that it seemed as though the police were woefully understaffed, and added that “it did not seem that they had a clear operational plan to really deal with” the thousands of protesters.
Demings also added that there were “a lot of unanswered questions and I’m damn determined to get answers to those questions about what went wrong.”
Ohio Democrat Representative Tim Ryan hinted that there may soon be leadership changes at the Capitol police.
“I think it’s pretty clear that there’s going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon because this is an embarrassment both on behalf of the mob, and the president, and the insurrection, and the attempted coup, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur,” Ryan said.
Four people died during the chaos that unfolded at the Capitol, including one woman who was shot and killed by police. The incident was caught on video and shared across social media. Three others died due to “medical emergencies” related to the breach, according to Robert Contee, the chief of the city’s Metropolitan Police Department.
D.C. police have reported that 68 people were arrested, and Capitol police also announced 14 arrests. Most of the arrests were for unlawful entry.
Chief Steven Sund of the U.S. Capitol Police said that more than 50 Capitol and D.C. police had been injured, and several had been hospitalized.
Sund defended his officers against the accusations of these lawmakers, saying that they “acted valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions.”