Police explain what went wrong at the Capitol
As mobs of demonstrators marched to the seat of the U.S. government on Wednesday, the law enforcement agency defending it had the same number of officers on hand as a routine day. The Defense Department and Capitol Police had prepared for a crowd numbering in the low thousands and threats such as isolated stabbings and fist fights, Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., said, citing Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. As rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, a police lieutenant ordered officers not to use deadly force. Police Chief Steven Sund told The Washington Post that House and Senate security officials denied his request to put the District of Columbia National Guard on standby ahead of time. Sund, who has announced his resignation, said his superiors worried about the “optics” of formally declaring an emergency ahead of Wednesday’s demonstration.
Is more violence expected? Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser called for an emergency declaration from the Department of Homeland Security in advance of President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The FBI in an internal bulletin warned of possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols starting this coming weekend.
Dig deeper: Read an excerpt from David French’s book Divided We Fall in WORLD’s Saturday Series.