Former Capitol Hill police officer, Md. congressman attribute Capitol breach on poor planning

A former veteran Capitol Hill police officer attributed Wednesday’s “nightmare” at the U.S. Capitol on poor planning by U.S. Capitol Police.

Additionally, Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown said he had raised questions with Congressional leadership about security for Wednesday’s Electoral College count process.

“I was surprised to see how rapidly this developed without the appropriate response from the Capitol Police and other supporting law enforcement elements,” Brown said.

Brown said protests are nothing new on Capitol Hill, but what devolved into a breach of the Capitol was not what his colleagues had expected.

“We make sacrifices, but we don’t expect to make this kind of sacrifice, where our lives are at risk. And, I really believe that for those members and staff that were on the floor of the House and Senate today, their lives were truly at risk,” Brown said.

Brown said he looked forward to getting back to tallying the results of the election, which Congress resumed Wednesday night after rioters were cleared off the Capitol and its grounds.

He said there needs to be an examination of how the security of the Capitol building was breached so quickly.

The former U.S. Capitol Police officer, to whom CBS News spoke, said that the No. 1 mission of U.S. Capitol Police is to protect the Capitol building.

“The saying there each day is, ‘The dome is still standing.’ They failed badly,” the former officer said.

The former officer said that Wednesday’s breach was a “breakdown,” pointing out:

  • There should have been a wider perimeter set up around the Capitol building, even though Congress likes to give the public access.
  • The protesters had permits, and law enforcement knew that they were coming. In addition, President Donald Trump talked about it.
  • There should have been four to five deep officers at the building.
  • There are 2,000 Capitol police officers.
  • After U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot in 2017 during a practice session for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity in Alexandria, Virginia, funding was hugely increased by tens of millions of dollars.
  • The situation should never have come to flash grenades and tear gas.
  • There should have never been a breach.

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WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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