capitol riot

Questions, But Few Answers Yet, on US Capitol Police Response During Breach

How did a 2,300-person police force -- and early warnings of trouble -- let this group take control of the United States Capitol?

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As crews clear the remaining damage inside the U.S. Capitol building, Capitol Police are facing a wave of criticism and scrutiny.

How did a 2,300-person police force with a $500 million annual budget -- and early warnings of trouble -- let a mob take control of the United States Capitol?

Despite all the questions, police are offering few answers so far. Calls for an investigation into the safety failures suffered Wednesday are only getting louder.

"Everybody felt like we were in a bad situation in there, [with people] beating on the doors and they ask you to get on the ground because there could be shots fired," said Rep. David Trone, D-Maryland.

While defending the U.S. House and Senate, Capitol Police were also forced to defend themselves. Three congressional and police sources tell News4 that at least 60 officers suffered injuries, and at least one is in critical condition.

Larry Cosme, head of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, tells News4 the images from Wednesday indicate the officers were outnumbered.

"When it's an event like this, these officers should have been in full riot gear, and they should have had another contingent of other officers in full riot gear in a standby mode to reinforce the folks that are already on the front lines, you know, protecting the outer barriers and the interior barriers of Capitol Hill," Cosme said.

The House Appropriations Committee, which controls the police department's budget, has launched a review of went wrong.

Recent investigations by the News4 I-Team showed growing pressure on the agency, with a 75% spike in threats against members of Congress since 2017.

In addition, in summer 2019, a warning from the agency's internal inspector general alerted the agency of challenges in protecting and securing the Capitol complex, citing issues with the budget, recruitment and training.

The agency's police chief, who is less than a year into his position, did not answer questions in the first 24 hours after this crisis.

In a statement, Chief Steven Sund said the agency had a robust plan, calling the actions of officers heroic. He said there would be a thorough review of the incident and planning.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund is resigning after Wednesday's riot. Scott MacFarlane reports.

A Capitol Police spokeswoman announced Thursday Sund's resignation effective Jan. 16.

Clear answers may only come from a public formal congressional hearing. But Congress is recessed until at least next week, which means answers are likely weeks or months away.

"The Capitol Police is far too secretive, acts like a force unto itself, and that's one of the matters that needs to be investigated," said D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.

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