Capitol Police Name New Acting Chief Following Breach of Capitol Building

January 11, 2021 Updated: February 15, 2021

The Capitol Police Board has designated a new acting chief of police after the department’s previous chief resigned in the wake of last week’s breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Yogananda Pittman, who joined the agency in 2001, has been named as acting Capitol chief of police, according to a statement. Pittman joined the U.S. Capitol Police Department (USCP) in 2001 and rose through the ranks to the post of assistant chief for protective and intelligence operations. She is the first woman and the first African American to lead the law enforcement agency, USCP says.

USCP Police Chief Steven Sund’s resignation takes effect on Jan. 16, a police spokeswoman told news outlets.

Sund said that police had planned for a free speech demonstration and didn’t expect a violent attack, which he said was unlike anything he had experienced in his 30 years in law enforcement.

Lawmakers had gathered on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol for a joint session of Congress to count and certify Electoral College votes for the 2020 presidential election, but proceedings in the chambers to debate whether to reject votes for Arizona were interrupted in the afternoon when a group of people stormed the Capitol.

Epoch Times Photo
Protesters storm the Capitol Building in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Ahmed Gaber/Reuters)

It’s unclear who instigated the breach of the building, at around 2:15 p.m. Officials declared around 6 p.m. the Capitol building had been secured. Congress in the early hours of Jan. 7 certified the Electoral College vote for former Vice President Joe Biden.

So far, at least 90 people have been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanor curfew violations to felonies related to assaults on police officers, possessing illegal weapons, and making death threats against lawmakers.

U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), a member of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, during a phone call that “at least 25 domestic terrorism cases have been opened as a result of the assault on the Capitol,” according to the Democratic lawmaker’s notes from their conversation.

The Army confirmed to The Epoch Times that the account of the discussion is accurate.

Epoch Times Photo
Workers begin to clean up the debris and damage caused by protesters at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on Jan. 7, 2021. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Crow said McCarthy told him that the Pentagon was aware of “further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists” in the days up to and including the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.

Thousands of protesters followed President Donald Trump to gather near the Capitol on Jan. 6 after his speech outside the White House, during which he asked protesters to “peaceful and patriotically make your voices heard” at the Capitol.

Some people breached the Capitol building, however, and what followed were numerous acts of lawlessness and violence.

Four people were confirmed dead on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, among then a woman who was shot inside the Capitol building. The District of Columbia Police Department identified her as 35-year-old Ashley Babbitt (also spelt Ashli) of Huntington, Maryland. The department said the three others died in separate medical emergencies. They were 50-year-old Benjamin Philips of Pennsylvania, 55-year-old Kevin Greeson of Alabama, and 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland of Georgia.

A USCP officer, Brian Sicknick, also died due to injuries while on duty responding to the unrest. The agency confirmed in a statement that he died at about 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7. His death is being investigated by the D.C. Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and its federal partners.

On Jan. 9, USCP confirmed the “off-duty” death of officer Howard Liebengood. The cause of Liebengood’s death hasn’t been released. It’s unclear whether the death is related to the unrest on Jan. 6.

Trump ordered U.S. flags across the nation and abroad to be flown at half-staff until Jan. 13 in honor of the “service and sacrifice” of law enforcement, the USCP, and the two USCP officers who died in the wake of unrest at the Capitol.

Isabel van Brugen, Janita Kan, Mimi Nguyen Ly, and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @OZImekTOM