Ex-Capitol Police Chief Says Requests For National Guard Denied 6 Times In Riots

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Members of the National Guard and the Washington D.C. police keep a small group of demonstrators away from the Capital after thousands of Donald Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol building following a "Stop the Steal" rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. The protesters stormed the historic building, breaking windows and clashing with police. Trump supporters had gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Jaclyn Diaz

January 11, 2010

 

 

The former chief of U.S. Capitol Police says security officials at the House and Senate rebuffed his early requests to call in the National Guard ahead of a demonstration in support of President Trump that turned into a deadly attack on Congress.

Former chief Steven Sund — who resigned his post last week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for him to step down made the assertions in an interview with The Washington Post published Sunday.

Sund contradicts claims made by officials after Wednesday’s assault on Capitol Hill. Sund’s superiors said previously that the National Guard and other additional security support could have been provided, but no one at the Capitol requested it.

Sund told the Post that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving was concerned with the “optics” of declaring an emergency ahead of the protests and rejected a National Guard presence. He says Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger recommended that he informally request the Guard to be ready in case it was needed to maintain security.

Like Sund, Irving and Stenger have also since resigned their posts.

Sund says he requested assistance six times ahead of and during the attack on the Capitol. Each of those requests was denied or delayed, he says.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser also wanted a light police presence at the Capitol. She reportedly wanted to avoid a similar scenario as last summer, when federal forces responded to demonstrators opposed to police abuses who assembled near the White House.

During Wednesday’s violence, Bowser requested, and received, a limited force of 340 from the D.C. National Guard. Those troops were unarmed and their job was to help with traffic flow — not law enforcement, which was meant to be handled by D.C. police.

When the mob reached the Capitol complex at about 12:40 p.m. ET on Wednesday, it took about 15 minutes for the west side perimeter of the building to be breached, he says. The Capitol Police contingent, which numbered around 1,400 that day, was quickly overrun by the estimated 8,000 rioters.

“If we would have had the National Guard we could have held them at bay longer, until more officers from our partner agencies could arrive,” he says.

Sund says during a conference call with several law enforcement officials at about 2:26 p.m., he asked the Pentagon to provide backup.

It would be more than three hours before any National Guard troops arrived, well after the damage at the Capitol had been done.

In the interview, Sund also issued a warning to federal officials, saying “if they don’t get their act together with physical security, it’s going to happen again.”

 

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/01/11/955548910/ex-capitol-police-chief-rebuffs-claims-national-guard-was-never-called-during-ri

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