US Police Chief Resigns: New details emerge about the violence that erupted in the United States Congress. “I asked for National Guard reinforcements to protect Congress, but they did not give me.” The resigning Capitol Chief of Police denounced in an interview with the Washington Post. It is the first time Steven Sund has spoken since the January 6 assault in which his men run over, and one of them has been killed. Mr Sund reconstructs the dramatic escalation of violence that resulted in the occupation of the parliamentary seat. He admits that law enforcement was inadequate: 1,500 officers from his Capitol Police against 8,000 protesters bent on invading Congress. Protesters shattered the security perimeter on the western side of Capitol Hill in 15 minutes.
The police chief said he has resigned for betraying his men but invites the Americans to look at the others’ responsibilities. Two days before the pro-Trump rally convened by the outgoing president himself in Washington, he had picked up numerous warning signs. The FBI and several police forces, including the New York Police Department, warned of the far-right militias preparations, their plans circulating on social media. The head of the Capitol Police asked for permission to alert the National Guard to intervene quickly.
Here the reconstruction of Sund goes into the maze of the many – too many – acronyms and organizations involved. Also, he stresses that the Congress’ defense depends on the two Sergeant-at-Arms responsible for the Senate and the House, respectively. Then there are the municipal police, under the orders of the mayor.
The National Guard, which in the 50 US states can be mobilized by order of their respective governors, in the District of Columbia, in the federal capital, depends directly on the army and therefore on the Pentagon. A labyrinth of responsibilities that contributed to disorganization, delays, and the blame game finally.
In the Washington Post interview, the most dramatic minutes are immediately after the protesters raid, when Mr. Sund pleads with the army chiefs to send reinforcements and collides with a chain of postponements. The deploying military units’ fear against a political march seems to have been an influencing factor, as in the past has been a subject of criticism. The other two House and Senate security chiefs, who have also resigned, have not yet provided their versions.
The Pentagon is also silent. The truth is likely to emerge – assuming it does come to light – only when the new administration and the new leadership of Congress take office (the Senate passes to the Democrats on January 15). It is one of the hottest dossiers that Joe Biden‘s Justice Minister will inherit.