USCP Leadership Barred Officers From Using Strongest Non-Lethal Weapons On Jan. 6, IG Finds

Police intervenes as President Donald Trump’s supporters breach security and enter the Capitol building in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021. (Photo by Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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April 14, 2021 10:07 a.m.

The top brass at the U.S. Capitol Police ordered officers not to use their most aggressive non-lethal equipment, including stun guns, against the violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters that attacked the Capitol on January 6, USCP Inspector General Michael Bolton reportedly found in his investigation.

“Heavier less-lethal weapons were not used that day because of orders from leadership,” Bolton wrote in a copy of his report obtained by the New York Times, which the inspector general will testify on in front of Congress on Thursday.

Officials reportedly told Bolton that the weapons could have helped “push back the rioters,” who eventually overwhelmed the police and breached the Capitol building.

The document also reportedly lays out how the USCP was given more advanced warning of the impending threat of pro-Trump violence on January 6 than has been previously reported.

Per the Times’ report on Bolton’s findings, the agency’s intelligence unit issued a report three days before the insurrection warning that the “Stop the Steal” movement that falsely claims the 2020 election was stolen from Trump could spark violence on January 6, the day of the “Stop the Steal” rally in D.C. that ultimately preceded the attack.

“Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” the intel document reportedly said. “Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.”

Additionally, Bolton reportedly found that the Department of Homeland Security on December 21 had flagged to the USCP several threatening comments on a pro-Trump website about attacking members of Congress, including a map of the Capitol building’s tunnel system. The DHS’s warning in Bolton’s report was first reported by CNN last week.

Former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund, who resigned in wake of the siege, testified during a Senate hearing in February that “None of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred.”

More details on Bolton’s reported findings can be read here.

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