Capitol Police Apologize For Failures During Capitol Riot

Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

Font Size:

The acting chief of the Capitol Police apologized Tuesday for the agency’s failure to control the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol Building.

“On January 6, in the face of a terrorist attack by tens and thousands of insurrectionists determined to stop the certification of the Electoral College votes, the Department failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours,” Yogananda D. Pittman, who was not yet acting police chief at the time of the attack, told the House Appropriations Committee according to prepared remarks obtained by the New York Times.

“We fully expect to answer to you and the American people for our failings on January 6,” she told the committee, which oversees funding for the Capitol Police. “I am here to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of the department.” (RELATED: REPORT: WalkAway Campaign Founder Arrested Over Participation In Capitol Riot)

Pittman admitted that by Jan. 4, the Capitol Police were aware that “there was a strong potential for violence” at the event “and that Congress was the target.”

“The Department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough,” she added.

In order to prepare for the attack, Capitol Police deployed all available officers, activated its SWAT team, and changed its security perimeter. However, when former USCP Chief of Police Steven Sund requested the National Guard and sought to declare a state of emergency, the 3-member Capitol Police Board denied the request, according to Pittman.

When the riot occurred, 1,200 Capitol Police personnel were on the ground, which Pittman said was no match for the “tens of thousands of insurrectionists” storming the Capitol.

Chief Sund requested authorization to deploy the National Guard when the riot began. Pittman said that the Board did not grant him authorization for “over an hour.”

Pittman added that the officers on the scene were not equipped with enough crowd-control munitions to properly quell the unrest, and “additional supplies should have been staged for easy access.” The Capitol Police “may not have … consistently followed” the “very specific lockdown procedures” when a lockdown was ordered for the Capitol Building. Officers also lacked a “clear line of communication” and had a lack of information about what was occurring and a lack of direction from leadership.

One woman, Ashli Babbitt, was shot by a Capitol Police officer inside the Capitol building. Pittman said that the incident is still under investigation. (RELATED: Inside The Capitol Rotunda Riot — What Actually Happened)

“I want to stress that the vast majority of Capitol Police officers who were on the front lines on January 6th performed valiantly in the face of extraordinary violence,” Pittman said. “They held off the attackers long enough for us to evacuate the House and Senate Chambers and lead the Members and staff to safety. These officers are heroes.”

“We know the eyes of the country and the world are upon us,” she continued. “The U.S. Capitol Police remain steadfast in addressing the new challenges that we face head on. We are committed to protecting and defending this institution that is responsible for safeguarding the freedoms we all hold dear – including the public’s right to exercise their First Amendment rights at the U.S. Capitol.”