The head of the U.S. Capitol Police union called on acting Chief Yogananda Pittman to step aside Wednesday after a joint Senate committee report on the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot.
Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, said the report showed that Pittman and other senior leaders failed to adequately prepare their officers with equipment and intelligence to respond to the breach, as well as failed to communicate with their officers while the attack was happening.
“The time has come for those in senior leadership who failed us, to stand aside. It is not enough to scapegoat others,” Papathanasiou said in a statement.
“Those most responsible, including Acting Chief Pittman who was in charge of intelligence prior to the insurrection, need to step aside for the good of the department,” he said. “As the Senate report found, our leadership failed us and we paid a horrible price.”
Capitol Police declined to comment.
The 100-page Senate report released Tuesday, the result of a joint investigation by the Homeland Security and Rules committees, offered new details about what Capitol Police leaders knew at the time. Several people died as a result of the riot, including a Capitol Police officer.
Capitol Police leaders learned that supporters of President Donald Trump were discussing ways to infiltrate tunnels around the complex and target Democratic members of Congress on Jan. 6 but failed to act on the threats, according to the report.
Through tips from the public and other sources, Capitol Police “knew about social media posts calling for violence at the Capitol on January 6, including a plot to breach the Capitol, the online sharing of maps of the Capitol Complex’s tunnel systems, and other specific threats of violence,” the report said, but the police force’s intelligence division “did not convey the full scope of known information to USCP leadership, rank-and-file officers, or law enforcement partners.”
The report also said that officers complained about a lack of leadership within the department as they tried to repel the attack — and that top leaders were virtually silent as they begged for help. Pittman, who joined the department in 2001 and rose through the ranks, became acting chief in January when Steve Sund stepped down as chief after the riot.
Papathanasiou said the union has been desperately trying to sound the alarm to Congress about the lack of resources and officer attrition.
“We are rapidly approaching a crisis,” he said. “We are already down more than two hundred officers below our authorized level. This includes approximately 70 officers who have left the department since the insurrection.”
Julie Tsirkin and Frank Thorp V contributed.