WASHINGTON (AP) – Legislators vow to investigate how law enforcement dealt with the violent violation at the Capitol on Wednesday, and questions whether a lack of readiness mob managed to occupy and demolish the building.
The U.S. Capitol Police, tasked with protecting Congress, reached out to other law enforcement agencies for help with the crowd that overwhelmed the complex and hid lawmakers. Both law enforcement and Trump supporters used chemical irritants during the hour-long occupation of the complex before it was evacuated Wednesday night.
Four people died, one of them a woman who was shot dead by police in the Capitol. Three other people died after “medical emergencies” related to the violation, said Robert Contee, chief of the city’s Metropolitan Police Department.
According to the police, 52 people were arrested on Wednesday evening, 26 of them on the Capitol grounds. Fourteen police officers were injured, said Contee.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Chair of the House Administrative Committee, said the violation “raises serious security concerns,” adding that her committee will work with House and Senate leaders to monitor the police and theirs’ response Willingness to check.
Legislators crouched under desks and put on gas masks while police tried unsuccessfully to barricade the building when people marched to the Capitol in support of President Donald Trump from a rally near the White House. The Mayor of Washington imposed a curfew to contain the violence.
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., A former police chief, said it was “painfully evident” that the Capitol Police are “not prepared for today”. I certainly thought that we would have had a stronger show of force, that steps would have been taken from the start to ensure there was a designated area for the protesters a safe distance from the Capitol. “
In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday evening, Demings said the police were unfortunately understaffed. rigged elections. “
The rioters were instigated by Trump, who for weeks falsely attacked the integrity of the elections and urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest against the formal approval of Congress for President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The protests interrupted the proceedings for almost seven hours.
The mob broke windows, entered both the Senate and House chambers, and went into lawmakers’ offices, including House Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Demings said there were “a lot of unanswered questions and I am damned determined to get answers to those questions about what went wrong today.”
A police spokeswoman could not be reached immediately for comment late Wednesday.
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., Said she was outraged to see reports on social media of a Capitol police officer posing for a photo with a protester. “Would you take a selfie with someone who robbed a bank?” She asked. “I can’t imagine that a few thousand Black Lives Matters protesters would have come to the Capitol … that 13 people would be arrested.”
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, suggested the Capitol Police Department might experience a change in leadership.
“I think it’s pretty clear that there will be a number of people who will be out of work very, very soon as this is an embarrassment for both the mob and the president, the uprising and the coup attempt, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew would come, ”said Ryan.
Associate press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.