US Capitol Police announces new acting chief

Acting Chief of U.S. Capitol Police Yogananda Pittman.

The U.S. Capitol Police has designated Yogananda Pittman as acting chief of the department in the wake of riots at the U.S. Capitol that shook D.C. and left one of USCP’s officers dead.

According to USCP’s website, Pittman was elevated to the role of acting chief Jan. 8 — two days after the riots at the Capitol Building and one day after USCP Chief Steven Sund announced he’d resign effective Jan. 16.

Pittman graduated from Morgan State University in 1999 and joined the USCP in 2001. As acting chief, she’s the first woman and the first African American to head to Capitol Police, according to a release from the university.

She was first assigned to the Senate Division of the force, providing security and protective details for U.S. Senators. She went on to attain ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, captain, inspector and deputy chief. In 2012, she became one of the department’s first African American women to reach the rank of captain.

Now acting chief, Pittman also retains the role of Assistant Chief of Police for Protective and Intelligence Operations.

USCP has not formally announced Sund’s departure, but he is no longer listed on the force’s executive team webpage.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was among those who called for Sund to step down following the riots at the Capitol. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also joined in the criticism of the police response.

“Obviously it was a failure or you would not have had people enter the Capitol by breaking windows and terrorizing the members of Congress who were doing a very sacred requirement of their jobs,” Bowser said.

The riots led to the death of USCP Officer Brian Sicknick, who died Thursday after police said he sustained injuries while responding to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Capitol Police announced on Sunday the death of a second officer following last week’s riots. The force’s labor union announced the death of 15-year veteran of the force Howard Liebengood. He was off duty at the time of his death and an official cause of death has not been released.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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