The union representing rank-and-file US Capitol Police officers said Wednesday it is “angered and shocked” by statements its current leader made to Congress this week about what was known in the lead up to the January 6 riots, adding that an “unconscionable” lack of preparation led to officers dying and being injured.
During a closed-door briefing on Tuesday, acting US Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told a congressional committee that she and department leaders were aware that there was potential for violence days before the assault on the US Capitol and took blame for the attack.
In statement released Wednesday, Gus Papathanasiou, the president of the union, said, “The disclosure that the entire executive team … knew what was coming but did not better prepare us for potential violence, including the possible use of firearms against us, is unconscionable.”
“The fact they did not relay this information to the officers on duty prior to the insurrection is inexcusable,” he said.
CNN has reached out to Capitol Police for comment.
Papathanasiou said that between Capitol Police and DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, about 140 officers were injured as a result of the riot.
“We have one officer who lost his life as a direct result of the insurrection. Another officer has tragically taken his own life,” he said. “I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained head injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake to name some of the injuries.”
On Tuesday, CNN reported the union was in early discussions about a potential no-confidence vote in US Capitol Police leadership. Papathanasiou’s statement didn’t address that, though he said the bosses do not have support of the department’s rank-and-file.
“We have leaders in this department who have the support of the front-line officers. They can implement the changes we need to make, but those leaders are not at the Chief or Assistant Chief levels.”