Breaking: Outgoing US Capitol Police chief: Efforts to call in National Guard hindered
The outgoing chief of the US Capitol Police has accused House and Senate security officials of thwarting his efforts to call in the National Guard.
Steven Sund, whose accusations contradict assertions from other officials who claimed the force had not asked for assistance, said that he, on multiple occasions both before and during the violence in the Capitol, tried to call in the National Guard.
His supervisors were, however, reluctant to take formal steps to put the Guard on call despite police intelligence suggesting that the crowd of President Donald Trump’s supporters was probably going to be much larger than earlier demonstrations, Sund told The Washington Post in an interview published Sunday night.
On Wednesday, armed protesters broke into the US Capitol, forcing the chamber to halt the ongoing vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election win. After two months of refusal to accept his defeat in the November 3 election, Trump sparked the violence, calling on his supporters to “fight like hell.”
“We knew it would be bigger,” Sund told the Post. “We looked at the intelligence. We knew we would have large crowds, the potential for some violent altercations. I had nothing indicating we would have a large mob seize the Capitol.”
However, House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving said he was uncomfortable with the “optics” of declaring an emergency prior to the violent demonstrations, and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger suggested Sund informally request the Guard to be prepared for that day.
“If we would have had the National Guard we could have held them at bay longer, until more officers from our partner agencies could arrive,” he told the newspaper.
The violent protests left five people dead including one Capitol Police officer who was beaten as he tried to ward off the protesters.
Sund will step down from his post on Jan. 16 after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for his resignation.