Several Officers Suspended Following Capitol Breach, USCP Chief Confirms

Several Officers Suspended Following Capitol Breach, USCP Chief Confirms
Protesters storm the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021. (Ahmed Gaber/Reuters)
Isabel van Brugen
Several Capitol Police officers have been suspended following the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol building, Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman announced in a statement late Monday.

United States Capitol Police’s (USCP) Pittman confirmed that the department has suspended several USCP officers following a review of video and other open source materials.

The department is actively reviewing footage of further officers and officials that appear to be in violation of its regulations and policies, said Pittman, who was appointed as USCP acting police chief after the former head resigned in the aftermath of last week’s breach.

“Several USCP officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations,” she wrote. “The investigation of the January 6 riot is continuing in collaboration with numerous law enforcement agencies and the USCP, along with its law enforcement partners, are aggressively working to identify and arrest those involved in the destruction of property at the U.S. Capitol Complex.”

“It is our intention to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Earlier, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, announced during a virtual press briefing that two Capitol police officers had been suspended after the Capitol breach.

He told reporters that USCP is cracking down on all individuals involved “that potentially facilitated, on a big level or small level in any way,” in the assault on Capitol grounds that took place during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress that saw lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence counting electoral votes.

One of the officers suspended by Capitol Police was caught on camera taking a selfie with a rioter. The second suspended officer was reportedly seen wearing a red "Make America Great Again” hat and was seen directing people around, he said.

He didn’t further elaborate on details of the individuals arrested.

Ryan also stated that he wasn’t aware of any evidence of specific lawmakers being targeted other than what could be heard from individuals shouting the name of the vice president and the speaker during the breach.

Between 10 to 15 investigations are currently underway for officer misconduct during the incident, Ryan confirmed.

"They’re trying to crack down on ... that because again, we need all hands on deck moving forward. We can’t have somebody protecting on the inauguration that was not doing the job during the Jan. 6 event,” Ryan said.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has called on the Department of Homeland Security to increase security measures ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. She has also urged Americans to avoid the city during the inauguration.

The National Guard confirmed Monday that up to 15,000 troops will be authorized to be deployed around the nation’s capital ahead of inauguration day.

“Right now, we have approximately 6,200 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 6 states and the District of Columbia on the ground in the NCR [National Capital Region] supporting civilian authorities,” Gen. Daniel Hokanson said in a statement.

Some critics have said President Donald Trump, during a lunchtime Jan. 6 rally near the Capitol, incited violence—despite the president saying that the protesters should protest "peacefully and patriotically."

Following the outbreak of violence, Trump took to Twitter to call on protester to “go home in peace”  He denounced the violence as a "heinous attack" that "defiled the seat of American democracy” on Jan. 7.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
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