With officers and bomb-sniffing dogs still sweeping the Capitol on Wednesday night, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), chair of the committee that controls the Capitol Police budget, held a news conference from his office via Zoom. He thanked those in the department who acted heroically in the face of the mob but said answers can’t come soon enough about the failures of planning that allowed the crowd to storm the Capitol, and images of some officers who appeared to allow protesters in.
“There were clearly enormous strategic and planning failures by the Capitol Police, by the Sergeant at Arms and anyone else who was a part of coordinating this effort. This is the United States Capitol building, with the United States Congress in session handling the presidential election process,” said Ryan, head of the House Appropriations Committee’s legislative branch subcommittee.
“The reinforcements that we thought — that I was told would be in place — that the National Guard was engaged, that D.C. metro police was engaged, that the SWAT teams were engaged, that we were prepared for this,” Ryan said. “There as a strategic breakdown, for sure, and you can bet your a-- we are going to get to the bottom of it.”
Ryan said he had been in frequent contact with Capitol Police and the sergeant at arms and had been assured as recently as Tuesday night that the Capitol complex was secure and that the department was coordinating with the Secret Service, D.C. police and the National Guard for any additional resources that would be needed.
Ryan said he understood from Capitol Police that protesters were to be corralled on the east side of the building, toward the Supreme Court.
“There was not supposed to be anyone near the Capitol. You would be reasonably close, to be able to protest and express your view, but nobody belongs on the Capitol plaza. Nobody ever goes on the Capitol steps. … Those were illegal acts, and those people should have been immediately arrested.”
Ryan continued, “I think it’s pretty clear that there are going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon because this is an embarrassment, both on behalf of the mob and the president and the insurrection and the attempted coup, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur.”
Asked about viral videos showing officers allowing protesters through a gate at one point, and in another an officer appearing to pose with protesters for a selfie, Ryan said he was shocked and would be demanding answers from Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund.
“Is that a training issue? I just don’t know. The Capitol is getting stormed by a mob and you’re taking selfies with, you know, the people. It’s crazy, just crazy.”