Jumat, 08 Januari 2021

Capitol Police under scrutiny after major failures in riots -

Police who guard the US Capitol are under scrutiny after their abject failure to protect a joint session of Congress from the mob that ran riot in Wednesday’s planned attack.

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund initially released a statement praising his officers’ response to the an overwhelming challenge and saying the department had a “robust plan” to handle the “anticipated First Amendment activities.”

But Sund has now been forced to resign amid a wave of anger from politicians and the American public over the disastrous breakdown of the 2,300-strong force supposed to protect the heart of democracy.

House Sergeant at Arms Paul D. Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael C. Stenger also stepped down after the unprecedented scenes that indicated reckless neglience and a racist double-standard when compared to the heavy security at Black Lives Matter protests.

It comes as US President Donald Trump is facing a possible second impeachment for inciting the insurrection that came during the Electoral College vote to certify Joe Biden’s presidential election win.

Several members of Congress told Reuters that senior security officials had assured them they would be protected before the protests and said that things were under control. Instead, five people including a police officer were left dead as shots were fired in one of America’s most hallowed institutions.

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When the rioters broke into the Capitol Building, smashing windows and battering down doors, plain clothes police were seen barricading the door to the chamber to the House of Representatives.

Officers were pictured posing for selfies, moving barricades and running away from the mob as Trump supporters dressed in costume and waving a Confederate flag ran amok, damaging property and quickly breaching the chamber. One rioter dressed in fur pelts was even pictured with a police riot shield.

The woefully underprepared police department called DC police for reinforcements and to help get politicians and staff to safety, but it was too late to prevent the mayhem.

Eventually, Vice President Mike Pence was forced to call in the National Guard to stop the rioters rampaging through the halls of Congress.

Capitol Police said they had no intelligence predicting the chaos, but social media and pro-Trump forums were littered with discussions by people planning to “storm the Capitol.”

It’s clear they were woefully underprepared for the thousands of protesters who descended on Washington, with no security barriers or central command centre.

Police departments have agreements to help each other in emergencies, but Capitol Police made no requests to DC National Guard or DC police, people familiar with the situation told The Washington Post on condition of anonymity.

Kenneth Rapuano, a senior defence official, said that the Pentagon contacted the Capitol and was told that assistance from the National Guard wasn’t required.

“The police should have defined a hard line and there should have been consequences for crossing it,” said Frank Larkin, former Senate sergeant at arms who has planned for many security threats to the Capitol told the Post. “The fight should have been outside. Not inside. To have that confrontation at the door, that was a losing formula.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s closest allies, said the mob “could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all. They could have destroyed the government.”

President-elect Joe Biden said the ease with which the “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists” were able to breach the Capitol and relatively low number of arrests betrayed a troubling double standard.

“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesters yesterday (Wednesday), they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently from the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” he said. “We all know that’s true, and it’s unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. The American people saw it in plain view.

“I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming but that isn’t true. We could see it coming.”

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2021-01-08 16:24:08Z

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