Capitol Police officers described getting no help as they got attacked during the insurrection: 'We were betrayed'

  • A bipartisan Senate report detailed failings of the US Capitol Police during the January 6 riot. 
  • Officers quoted in the report said they received little to no direction from senior staff that day.
  • But the report found that USCP leadership had been monitoring plans to breach the Capitol for weeks.
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US Capitol Police officers have described feeling “betrayed” and receiving little to no direction from their leaders on how to defend the Capitol from rioters on January 6 in a new bipartisan Senate report on the insurrection.

The report, which was released Tuesday, found that the USCP was “not prepared for a large-scale attack, despite being aware of the potential for violence.” 

The chaos at the Capitol started when protesters attending a pro-Trump rally stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election. Live broadcasts captured rioters pushing through barriers as officers tried to push them back.

Five people — including USCP Officer Brian Sicknick — died after the riot. 

“We were ill prepared. We were NOT informed with intelligence. We were betrayed,” one officer quoted in the report said.

“We were abandoned by ALL the deputy chiefs and above that day. We still have not been told where exactly the chiefs were that day and what their [role] was on the 6th.”

That officer said the “chiefs need to be held accountable” and should be investigated “for failure to supervise and failure to take police action.” 

The then-chief of the USCP, Steven Sund, resigned immediately after the riot. Yogananda D. Pittman is currently serving as acting chief of police for the department. 

That officer also told the report’s authors that no senior officers came on the radios on January 6 to give direction. 

“I was horrified that NO deputy chief or above was on the radio or helping us,” that officer said.

“For hours the screams on the radio were horrific[,] the sights were unimaginable[,] and there was a complete loss of control … For hours NO chief or above took command and control. Officers were begging and pleading for help for medical triage.”

Another officer said there was “very little direction, if any, provided by ranking members of the USCP throughout the whole day — mid-level and senior leadership was providing very little, if any, direction. I felt like I was alone and I felt like I had to make my own decisions.” 

Pittman told investigators that the lack of radio communications was due to commanders being overwhelmed, and they were prioritizing engaging with rioters to issuing orders over the radio, the report said.

The report concluded by saying that “reforms to USCP and the Capitol Police Board are necessary to ensure events like January 6 are never repeated.”

An internal Capitol Police watchdog report, obtained by CNN in April, found that the force’s armory on January 6 included expired ammunition and ineffective shields. 

The Senate report came nearly two weeks after Senate Republicans voted against setting up a 9/11-style, bipartisan commission to study the insurrection.

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