Capitol Police firings imminent after ‘attempted coup,’ top appropriator warns
The top House appropriator charged with funding the Capitol Police vowed Wednesday to investigate the law enforcement response to the violent mob that overtook the Capitol building and alluded to firings to come among the force.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) told reporters after the rioting had subsided that “there were some strategic mistakes from the very beginning.”
“I think it’s pretty clear that there’s going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon,” Ryan said, “because this is an embarrassment — both on behalf of the mob and the president, and the insurrection and the attempted coup, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur.”
“You can bet your ass that we’re going to get to the bottom of it,” the Ohio Democrat said.
With control of both chambers and the White House, Democrats could mandate changes among the Capitol Police force through annual spending bills. House Democrats have previously sought to tie police reform to federal funding, in addition to pursuing reports on Capitol Police training policies and procedures to eliminate unconscious bias and racial profiling.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the new chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said the breach of the Capitol “was a coup attempt instigated by President Trump” and that “everyone who has aided and abetted him for the past four years bears responsibility for today’s violence.”
Lawmakers are questioning how rioters were so easily able to breach the building at the heart of the U.S. government, storming the Senate floor and leaving lawmakers, reporters and staff taking cover in the House chamber as the rioters tried to break down the doors. The pandemonium led to the death of one woman and resulted in about a dozen arrests.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is poised to become chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said “the criminals who injured people, defiled the Nation’s Capitol, and destroyed thousands of dollars’ worth of property should be prosecuted for their felonies.”
Ryan noted video footage that went viral of Capitol Police officers allowing rioters past fencing in order to access the building. “I have no idea why that would be permissible,” he said. “That’s unacceptable. … We’ll be looking at all of that.”
The police response to the pro-Trump protesters was milder than the law enforcement tactics employed when officers used tear gas and rubber bullets in response to Black Lives Matter protesters over the summer.
“If Black people were storming the Capitol, they would have been treated so much differently than they were today,” Ryan said. “I don’t think there’s any question that communities of color would have been handled much, much differently.”