Lawmakers are promising to investigate the way law enforcement dealt with Wednesday’s violent breach at the United States Capitol. They want to know why the Capitol Police were not prepared for the mob that occupied and vandalized the building. The mob was formed by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Congress buildings are protected by U.S. Capitol Police. On Wednesday, they turned to the District of Columbia police force and others for help with the mob that entered the Capitol and sent lawmakers into hiding. Police used tear gas to get mob members out of the building. The Congress was finally secured Wednesday evening.
Four people died, one of them a woman who was shot and killed by police inside the Capitol. Three other people died after suffering “medical emergencies” related to the breach, said Robert Contee. He is the chief of the city’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Police said at least 52 people were arrested, including 26 on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Fourteen police officers were injured, Contee said.
Representative Zoe Lofgren is chairwoman of the House Administration Committee. She said the breach raises serious “security concerns.″ She added that her committee will work with House and Senate leaders to examine the way the police planned, or did not plan, for the arrival of the protestors.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said: “We spend billions of dollars on national security and today failed to protect our Nation’s Capital from a lawless mob. Unacceptable!”
Lawmakers hid under desks and wore gas masks while police tried and failed to stop members of the mob from entering the building. The Trump supporters had marched to the Capitol from the White House, where they had attended a rally where Trump spoke.
Washington’s mayor announced an evening curfew in an attempt to stop the violence.
Representative Val Demings is a former police chief. She said it was clear that Capitol police “were not prepared for today.” She added that the police force should have had “a designated area for the protesters in a safe distance from the Capitol.″
In an interview on American television Wednesday night, Demings said it appeared there were not enough police to control the thousands of protestors who arrived at the Capitol. The event followed Trump’s continued, baseless claims of a “rigged election.″
Trump encouraged the protestors, whom he had urged to come to Washington to protest Congress’s official approval of the election of President-elect Joe Biden. Trump has spent weeks falsely attacking Biden’s victory.
“We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue ... and we’re going to the Capitol ... we’re going to try and give our Republicans ... the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country,” Trump told the crowd before it marched to the Capitol.
The protests delayed Congress for nearly seven hours. The mob broke windows, entered both the Senate and House chambers and went into the offices of lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.
Congresswoman Karen Bass said she was angry about a photo on social media that showed a Capitol Police officer taking a picture with a protestor.
“Would you take a selfie with someone who was robbing a bank?” she asked. She also said that if protestors had been members of the Black Lives Matter movement the police would have been ready, and many more protestors would have been arrested.
Representative Tim Ryan said the incident would likely lead to leadership changes at the Capitol Police.
“I think it’s pretty clear that there’s going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon,” Ryan said. He added that there was a lack of “professional planning” for a protest that police knew was going to take place.
I’m Susan Shand.
The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.
Words in This Story
breach – v. an occurrence in which someone is able to get into a place that is guarded or is able to get secret information
vandalize – v. to deliberately destroy or damage property
mask – n. a face covering
designate – v. to mark, show, or represent
rig – v. to control or affect (something, such as a game or election) in a dishonest way in order to get a desired result
encourage – v. to make (someone) more determined, hopeful, or confident
pride – n. a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people
bold – adj. not afraid of danger or difficult situations
selfie – n. taking a photo of oneself
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