Focus on Capitol Security

US Capitol riot: Capitol Police accused of double standard following siege

US experts and lawmakers want to know why law enforcement allowed Trump supporters to enter the building of Congress

The infiltration of President Trump’s aggressive supporters into the Capitol building on Wednesday, January 6, was a catastrophic failure of the entire security system of one of the main symbols of American democracy. In the heart of the American capital, a city on high alert these days, a riotous mob broke into a federal building guarded by its own 2,000-member police department. Law enforcement officers could not stop them.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser extends state of emergency on Wednesday by 15 days, it is unclear if curfew will be in effect.

In response to the riots on Capitol Hill in Washington, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dispatched 1,000 New York National Guard troops to the US capital, as did the Governor of Maryland. The Washington authorities announced that over 6,000 National Guardsmen from a number of states will be deployed in the capital by the weekend.

As for yesterday’s events – on the eve of the action of Trump’s supporters, it became known that the mayor of Washington requested the introduction of units of the National Guard from the Ministry of Defense, but was refused. Then the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi made the same request, but she was refused. It was only when the situation finally got out of control that the Acting Secretary of Defense of the United States ordered the dispatch of units of the National Guard..

The Capitol building was guarded by the police – and not the city, but the special police of the Capitol, whose task is precisely the protection of the Congress.

In the Capitol itself, the police set up low barriers, and the officers were mostly in street uniforms, and not in special equipment. Law enforcement officials said everyone was willing to restrict the protest, but not prevent the attack..

Experts said they were taken aback by the tactics the police used when the crowd was already in the Capitol..

«It was clear that the police were caught off guard. Not in the sense that they did not expect violence, but in the sense that they did not expect such violence. To be honest, I myself was taken by surprise, because in the United States, we do not do that, we do not physically attack the Capitol building. The right move was to evacuate members of Congress. The protesters were targeting lawmakers. By removing the legislators, the attackers lost their purpose. We saw photographs of these people, they were sitting on chairs, putting their feet on the table, taking pictures. The police found themselves between a rock and a hard place in fact. If they resort to violence against the protesters, they are wrong. If they are not violent enough with the protesters, they are also wrong. They have a very difficult position. I think they showed great restraint», – declared to the Russian service «Voices of America» Florida International University Professor Alexander Crowther.

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The invasion of the Capitol showed the existence of problems with the security of the US Congress

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One of the participants died as a result of a bullet wound while trying to enter one of the offices of the building, guarded by the Capitol police. Another video shows a police officer opening barriers in front of the Capitol to allow the crowd to pass. There is even a photo that went viral on social networks in which an officer takes a selfie with one of the intruders..

The police did not appear to have tried to apprehend the rioters by allowing them to leave the building without hindrance..

US Lawmakers Overseeing Capitol Police Budget Call for Full Investigation of Events.

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«We need a full-scale investigation into how the Capitol guards were breached so quickly. As a senior member of the Capitol Police Funding Committee, I intend to be at the forefront of this investigation.», – wrote in «Twitter» Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.

«There should have been no one near the Capitol. You can be close enough to be able to protest and express your opinion, but no one can be in Capitol Square, no one ever climbs the steps of the Capitol, this is illegal. These were illegal actions and these people should have been arrested immediately. I think it’s pretty obvious that very, very soon some people will be out of work.», – said Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan.

Security in the Capitol Building is overseen by Congress itself. Although the people’s representatives often speak with pride about openness «People’s House», they also spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the security of the complex – adding anti-vehicle barricades and building a new underground complex to screen visitors away from the Capitol itself. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress also increased its police force from about 800 to about 2,000. – as many officers as there are in the departments of the big cities of Atlanta or Cleveland. The agency’s annual budget is about $ 460 million.

The Capitol Police response on Wednesday was in stark contrast to how police have dealt with obvious threats outside the building in the past. In 2013, Capitol Police and Secret Service officers opened fire on a vehicle that allegedly rammed a security fence.

The streets, Congress grounds and the building itself were restored by the National Guard, the FBI, the police, and other federal agencies..

The Mayor of Washington said at a press conference that the federal reaction to the protest was a failure.

FBI appeals to citizens for help in investigating events on Capitol Hill.

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