Retired Capitol Police officer: ‘How can you not have backup?’

The more he learned about Wednesday’s rioting that led to five deaths at the U.S. Capitol, the more incredulous Theotis “Butch” Jones, a retired Capitol Police officer, became.

His first reaction to the coverage, which showed both Capitol Police and D.C. police outnumbered as mobs shattered windows and kicked doors, was: “How can you not have backup? That’s the question. How can you not have it?”

Jones, who was a member of Capitol Police from 1973 to 2009, told WTOP that preparations for major events always included layers of security.

Jones worked during events that included the Million Man March, demonstrations by the Ku Klux Klan, and the aftermath of 9/11.

For any large event, Jones said, Capitol Police would coordinate with a number of law enforcement agencies.

“You got the Park Police; you got [D.C.] police; you got [D.C. police] horses; you got [U.S.] Park Police horses,” he said, referring to the mounted units used to handle crowd control.

But when looking at the images from Wednesday, Jones said there appeared to be no backup to deter the violent mobs on that particular day.

Jones said if he were working Wednesday morning, “and I saw the setup the way it was? Believe me, I would have asked questions at roll call.”

The Associated Press reported Sunday that there were no more officers at the Capitol Wednesday than on e regular day.

“One and one doesn’t add up to be two. Something went wrong,” he said. A thorough investigation, Jones said, is needed to determine who was responsible for the decisions surrounding security that day.

“Someone had to make a decision not to allow reinforcements to show up,” he said.

Jones looks back at his years on the force with pride.

“Ninety percent of the police officers, they do their job. They’re good police officers,” he said. But he added, as on any force, “you’ve got some bad police officers.”

After looking at the footage of the officers who struggled to push back the violent crowds, or close off entries in the Capitol, Jones said, “I take my hat off to all the ones who stayed on the job,” fought off the rioters “and came back the next day.”

Referring to the FBI bulletins that indicate there is the possibility of planned armed demonstrations in state capitals across the country, Jones said: “I’m telling my family stay at home. Stay in your neighborhoods, because anything can happen now that we’re being threatened.”

Jones said Mayor Muriel Bowser made the right call in urging people not to come to D.C. for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up