The chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police union called on acting Chief Yogananda Pittman to “stand aside” Wednesday after new details in a Senate report released earlier this week highlighted failures of the law enforcement agency’s leadership in preparation for the deadly Capitol attack on Jan. 6.
“The time has come for those in senior leadership who failed us, to stand aside. It is not enough to scapegoat others,” Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, said in a statement first reported by NBC News.
Papathanasiou said the bipartisan report — which stemmed from a Senate Rules and Homeland Security Committees’ investigation that was led by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — showed that Pittman and senior leaders hadn’t sufficiently prepared officers to respond to the breach.
“Those most responsible, including Acting Chief Pittman who was in charge of intelligence prior to the insurrection, need to step aside for the good of the department,” Papathanasiou said.
Pittman became acting U.S. Capitol Police chief a day after Steve Sund resigned from the role following the Jan. 6 attack.
The 100-page Senate report released Tuesday said that the U.S. Capitol Police’s intelligence and interagency coordination division possessed information about potential threats on Jan. 6, including that supporters of President Donald Trump were looking into ways to target Democratic lawmakers during the joint congressional session that day.
According to the report, Capitol Police “knew about social media posts calling for violence at the Capitol on January 6, including a plot to breach the Capitol, the online sharing of maps of the Capitol Complex’s tunnel systems, and other specific threats of violence.”
In spite of being alerted through tips and other sources, the Capitol Police’s intelligence division “did not convey the full scope of known information to USCP leadership, rank-and-file officers, or law enforcement partners,” the report said.
In a statement responding to the report, Capitol Police pushed back and insisted that it hadn’t received credible intelligence that “the large-scale demonstration would become a large-scale attack.”
“Neither the USCP, nor the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Metropolitan Police or our other law enforcement partners knew thousands of rioters were planning to attack the U.S. Capitol. The known intelligence simply didn’t support that conclusion,” the statement said.