- The Pentagon placed major restrictions on the DC National Guard ahead of Wednesday’s insurgency attempt, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
- Officials limited the ability of the DC guards to deploy troops, receive ammunition and riot gear, engage with protesters, share materials with local police, and use surveillance without surveillance. explicit endorsement from Trump’s acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, according to the Post.
- The guards only arrived to support the U.S. Capitol Police – which were ill-prepared and quickly overwhelmed – more than two hours after the USCP chief called them, according to the Post.
- The muted approach was supposedly aimed at avoiding the backlash that followed an aggressive response to the BLM protests last summer, but the response drew sharp criticism from Democratic lawmakers, activists and even some experts in the law enforcement for its inadequacy.
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In the days leading up to the attempted insurgency by Trump supporters, the Defense Department placed major limits on tactics, equipment, and resources the DC National Guard could use to deal with protesters, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Pentagon officials sent memos Jan. 4-5 prohibiting DC guards from receiving ammunition and riot gear, engaging with protesters (except for self-defense), sharing materials with the local police or to use surveillance or aerial means without the explicit approval of Trump’s Acting Defense Secretary, Christopher Miller, according to the Post.
The additional bureaucratic hurdle delayed the DC Guard’s response after U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund on Wednesday asked 200 guards to provide reinforcements – with the guards arriving only 2.5 hours later – according to the Post.
Five deaths, including a law enforcement officer, have been confirmed so far in connection with Wednesday’s violence.
The USCP, which had only scheduled peaceful protests – despite numerous warning flags suggesting protesters could turn violent – was vastly outnumbered by rioters and was quickly overtaken.
Read more: There is a toll ahead for the Congressional Police that allowed the worst breach of the U.S. Capitol since the British torched the building in 1814
It’s unclear how many officers were on duty as of Wednesday, but the USCP has a total of 2,300 officers and civilian employees patrolling 16 acres of land and protecting 535 members of Congress and their staff. By comparison, Minneapolis has about 840 uniformed officers guarding 425,000 residents spread over an area of 6,000 acres, according to the Associated Press.
DC Guards were not initially deployed to the U.S. Capitol in large numbers, in part because city and Pentagon officials wanted to avoid the backlash that followed Trump’s aggressive use of law enforcement. federal governments to attack peaceful protesters after George Floyd’s death, according to the Post.
The USCP itself rejected several offers of help from federal law enforcement before Wednesday’s events, and according to the Post, Mayor Muriel Bowser had only requested 340 guards, mostly to monitor traffic and traffic. public transport.
But DC guard troops respond to state governors, and since DC is not a state, Bowser had to seek additional support from the Pentagon on Wednesday, which responds to Trump – a task that proved difficult and slow.
Bowser and his staff, along with lawmakers trapped in the Capitol, called on governors of neighboring Maryland and Virginia, who were themselves initially ignored by the Pentagon when they asked military leaders to deploy additional guards .
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, who effectively commands the DC Guard, told a press conference Thursday that 6,200 Guards would be deployed by the weekend and that a “non-scalable” fence of 7 feet would be installed around the Capitol. He added that military officials had predicted Wednesday assuming it would be like other recent protests and that it was not in their “wildest imaginations” that they did not expect the rioters to cross. Capitol.
But decisions by law enforcement – the USCP as well as local and federal agencies – not to prepare for riots have drawn strong criticism. Former DC Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey slammed police response, telling CNN “they must lock them up no questions asked”, regarding rioters inside the Capitol .
The USCP “was not prepared for today,” Democratic Representative Val Demings told the Baltimore Sun, adding, “I certainly thought we would have had a stronger show of force.”
Activists also pointed to the disparity between law enforcement’s relatively passive response to violent protesters on Wednesday and the massive arrests and assaults used against largely peaceful anti-racist protests.
Sund, the USCP chief and another senior Capitol Hill security official have already announced plans to step down, and others are expected to leave.