DC police union speaks out about Capitol Hill riots

The union representing rank-and-file members of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department is not mincing words after the fatal riots at the U.S. Capitol this week.

D.C. Police Union Chairman Gregg Pemberton said the leadership of the U.S. Capitol Police Department “was ill-prepared for this attack, both in manpower and in resources.”

Pemberton said it is still unclear how the Capitol Hill complex was breached so quickly on Wednesday, but praised United States Capitol Police officers for “valiantly” trying to “stop the onslaught of rioters.”

The D.C. Police Union statement also addressed the jurisdictional issues that were at play and the role the D.C. police department had in eventually securing the U.S. Capitol building and seizing dozens of illegal weapons; including firearms, bombs and Molotov cocktails.

The statement concluded with a reflection on the conversation happening about police reform. In particular, Pemberton focused on some of the rhetoric used by police critics like “defunding, disarming and restricting professional policing in this city.”

Pemberton said the union has “consistently” been in support of police reform efforts and is always willing to have a conversation with supporters and critics about ways to improve policing in the District.

But he added that what happened on Jan. 6 is another example as to why “supporting and expanding professional and responsible policing” is so important, and that “misguided demagoguery and activism” helps to undermine public safety.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday due to injuries sustained while on duty, physically engaging with protesters at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

The Capitol Police said another person, identified as Ashli Babbitt, was shot by one of its employees while the rioters were moving toward the House chamber.

D.C. police said three other people who had medical emergencies died during the Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol.


John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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