US Capitol police officers were “betrayed” by their bosses, who left rank-and-file cops poorly equipped to handle the storming of the Capitol building — and weren’t told the violence was expected, the department’s union chief said Wednesday.
Nearly 140 cops were either physically injured or emotionally traumatized in the Jan. 6 assault, US Capitol Police Labor Committee Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said.
“I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries,” he said in a statement, according to a report in The Hill.
“One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs,” he said. “One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake.”
“The officers are angry, and I don’t blame them,” Papathanasiou said. “The entire executive team failed us, and they must be held accountable. Their inaction cost lives. The fact they did not relay this information to the officers on duty prior to the insurrection is inexcusable.”
The union’s rebuke comes one day after Acting Police Chief Yogananda Pittman testified before Congress and apologized for the security breach at the Capitol building — and admitting that at least two days before the siege the department had intelligence that white supremacists could attack the building.
“We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target,” Pittman told the lawmakers
She said there were more than 1,200 personnel on duty on Jan. 6, but that it proved “no match for the tens of thousands of insurrectionists” who stormed the building.
The security failure forced then-Police Chief Steven Sund to resign.
According to Papathanasiou, the union does not want Pittman to be his permanent replacement when the position is officially filled.