The chief of Capitol Police said he tried 6 times to call reinforcements to deal with pro-Trump rioters, but kept getting blocked

  • The departing Capitol Police chief says he called for back-up six times during Wednesday's attack, but was kept waiting.
  • Sund told The Washington Post he unsuccessfully asked the Senate and House Sergeants at Arms multiple times for permission to call the National Guard.
  • After the violence started, Sund asked the Pentagon for help, but Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, director of the US Army Staff, declined.
  • The Guard eventually deployed at 3:10 p.m. and arrived at 5:40 p.m., The Post said, after the violence had ceased. 
  • Sund told The Post: "If we would have had the National Guard we could have held them at bay longer."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The departing chief of the Capitol Police said he tried six times to summon reinforcements before and during Wednesday's attack by pro-Trump rioters, but was blocked from doing so by his superiors.

Speaking to The Washington Post on Sunday, Steven Sund said he worried that the protest would turn violent, and was unable to get help until the violence was at its peak.

"We knew we would have large crowds, the potential for some violent altercations," he said.  

Four protesters and one police officer died as a result of Wednesday's attack, which plunged Washington into chaos and prompted calls for President Donald Trump to be impeached for inciting the violence.  

From 1 p.m. on Wednesday, as the violence was beginning at the perimeter of the Capitol complex, Sund made a string of requests for backup, he told The Post. 

Here are the six calls he described; four of which were denied, and two of which approved. Only the first brought immediate help:

  • At around 1 p.m. Sund called Robert J. Contee, the chief of police for Washington, DC, and 100 officers were deployed.
  • At 1:09 p.m. Sund called House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger to get permission to deploy the National Guard. The pair told Sund they would "run it up the chain, but he didn't hear back.
  • After that Sund called Irving and Stenger for an update, but got none.
  • After that Sund called Irving and Stenger again for an update, but got none.
  • At 2:10 p.m. Sund got approval from Irving to call the Guard; but was blocked again at the next step.
  • At 2:26 p.m. Sund joined a call with Pentagon officials and asked them to deploy the National Guard. He was told no by Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, the director of the Army Staff.

Sund recalled telling Piatt: "I am making an urgent, urgent immediate request for National Guard assistance. I have got to get boots on the ground."

In response, Sund said that Piatt responded: "I don't like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background."

Insider contacted the US Army for comment.

During the call, Sund repeated several times that the situation was "dire," John Falcicchio, chief of staff to Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, told The Post.

Supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. – Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote CertificationSaul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Jonathan Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman, said that Capitol Police did not request help until after the protest started.

"We rely on Capitol Police and federal law enforcement to provide an assessment of the situation and based on that assessment that they had, they believed they had sufficient personnel and did not make a request," he said, per the Post. 

The National Guard were eventually deployed by Christopher C. Miller, acting defense secretary, at 3:10 p.m., according to a Department of Defense timeline, The Post reported.

Those troops only arrived at the Capitol at 5:40 p.m., long after the violence had ceased, The Post said.

Sund also warned of the threat of violence days before, the Post said.

On Monday, Sund asked House and Senate security officials if he could request that that the National Guard be placed on standby, the Post said. He was denied. 

Irving, the House Sergeant at Arms, told Sund he didn't like the "optics" of declaring an emergency ahead of the demonstration, Sund said. 

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 6, 2021, inSaul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

"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 told the Post.

After speaking with Irving that day, Sund called Major General William J. Walker, the head D.C. National Guard, and was told that, if called on, 125 troops could come quickly.

Sund announced his resignation on Thursday after widespread criticism of the official reponse to the attack. His last day is due to be January 16.

Source: Read Full Article