Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda D Pittman (pictured) apologized to Congress for stunning security failures during the January 6 MAGA riots on Tuesday
The head of the Capitol Police apologized to Congress for stunning security failures during the MAGA riots on January 6 and acknowledged that the agency had been forewarned of a ‘strong potential for violence’ but failed to take adequate steps to prevent it.
Acting Chief Yogananda D Pittman made the extraordinary admissions in a statement before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, nearly three weeks after a mob of President Donald Trump‘s supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to block the certification of Joe Biden‘s election victory.
‘On January 6th, in the face of a terrorist attack by tens of thousands of insurrectionists determined to stop the certification of Electoral College votes, the Department failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours,’ Pittman told the committee, which oversees funding for USCP, in a statement obtained by DailyMail.com.
‘Although the Department fulfilled its mission of protecting Members and democracy ultimately prevailed, the insurrectionists’ actions and the Department’s inability to immediately secure the U.S. Capitol emboldened the insurrectionists and horrified millions of Americans.’
‘Let me be clear: the Department should have been more prepared for this attack,’ she continued. ‘By January 4th, the Department knew that the January 6th event would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020.
‘We knew that militia groups and white supremacists organizations would be attending. We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.’
‘The Department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough.’
The statement from Pittman, who was promoted to acting chief when former chief Steven Sund stepped down in the wake of the riots, offered the most detailed account yet of the USCP’s preparations for the insurrection, which led to the deaths of five people, including one of its officers.
Pittman’s extraordinary admissions came nearly three weeks after a mob of Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory
Pittman confirmed for the first time that the Capitol Police Board had denied a January 4 request from Sund to declare a state of emergency and authorize the deployment of National Guard troops for support.
Once the violence began to unfold, the Board delayed sending in troops for an hour after receiving a second request from Sund.
Describing the few preparations that were made beforehand, Pittman said the USCP required all available officers to be on call, activated its SWAT team and increased the number of Civil Disturbance Units scheduled to work that day.
But she said the more than 1,200 officers stationed at the Capitol were ‘no match for the tens of thousands of insurrectionist (many armed) attacking the Capitol and refusing to comply with lawful orders’.
Two out of three members of the elusive Capitol Police Board – House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D Irving and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C Stenger – have already resigned. The third member, Architect of the Capitol J Brett Blanton, is still on the board.
She said she personally ordered a lockdown of all Capitol entrances when the ‘mob’ edged closer to the building, but said her order ‘may not have been consistently followed’.
Pittman said the more than 1,200 officers stationed at the Capitol were ‘no match for the tens of thousands of insurrectionist (many armed) attacking the Capitol and refusing to comply with lawful orders’
An officer in the above image was seen being dragged down steps outside the Capitol before being beaten by a mob of Trump supporters
Pittman acknowledged the monumental challenges her agency faced during the chaos, noting that some resources had to be diverted away from the Capitol with the discoveries of a vehicle filled with explosives and a pipe bomb at the Republican National Convention headquarters and a vehicle.
‘In my experience, I do not believe there was any preparations that would have allowed for an open campus in which lawful protesters could exercise their first amendment right to free speech and at the same time prevented the attack on Capitol grounds that day,’ she said.
But she added: ‘I do believe certain challenges the Department faced the day of the attack could have been overcome with additional preparation.’
She said that officers were not adequately supplied with crowd control munitions and there were issues with communication because they couldn’t hear their radios over the commotion.
Pittman said many officers are now suffering from PTSD, ‘particularly after the loss of two of our officers directly and indirectly as a result of the events of January 6th’.
Officer Brian Sicknick was killed during the insurrection when he was allegedly hit over the head by a fire extinguisher. Officer Howard Liebengood died by apparent suicide four days later.
In a court filing on Monday, the Department of Justice revealed that 81 USCP officers were assaulted during the chaos, along with 58 members of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department.
And at least 38 Capitol cops have tested positive for COVID-19 in the nearly three weeks since, though it is unclear how many of them were on duty during the assault.
Pittman said many officers are now suffering from PTSD, ‘particularly after the loss of two of our officers directly and indirectly as a result of the events of January 6th’
Officer Brian Sicknick (left) was killed during the insurrection when he was allegedly hit over the head by a fire extinguisher. Officer Howard Liebengood (right) died by apparent suicide four days later
One officer, Daniel Hodges, was filmed screaming for help as he was being crushed against a metal door frame, with blood seen pouring from his mouth. He has since recovered and returned to duty
Pittman concluded her statement by saying: ‘As the Acting Chief, I take responsibility for the mistakes that were made by the Department, and I pledge to this Committee, the Congress, the American people, and my USCP colleagues, that we will do better going forward, but we need to make changes.
‘We know the eyes of the country and the world are upon us. The U.S. Capitol Police remain steadfast in addressing the new challenges that we face head on.’
Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy P Blodgett also addressed the appropriations committee on Tuesday and echoed Pittman’s assertions, saying it’s ‘clear there was a failure of preparation’.
‘Whether it was insufficient or conflicting intelligence, lacking ability to translate that intelligence into action, insufficient preparation or an inadequate ability to mobilize partner agencies for immediate assistance, a series of events, once thought unfathomable, unfolded allowing our most sacred halls to be breached,’ Blodgett said.
Like Pittman, Blodgett said his entire team is committed to fixing what went wrong to prevent future attacks.
Disturbing footage from the riots has shown dozens of officers being crushed by crowds, dragged down steps, and struck with projectiles as the MAGA mob overwhelmed law enforcement to breach the legislature nearly three weeks ago.
One officer, Daniel Hodges, was filmed screaming for help as he was being crushed against a metal door frame, with blood pouring from his mouth. He has since recovered and returned to duty.
More than 150 of the thousands-strong crowd have since been arrested, with more suspects still being sought by federal authorities.
At least 31 officers in law enforcement agencies across 12 states are also currently being investigated over their suspect role in the riots.
Read Pittman’s full statement to the House Appropriations Committee: