Feb. 16 (UPI) — U.S. Capitol Police officers issued an overwhelming vote of no confidence in their leadership concerning last month’s siege on the U.S. Capitol building.
The U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee announced in a press release on Monday that rank-and-file members of the force participated in a vote of no confidence last week “following senior leadership’s mishandling of the insurrection of the Capitol on Jan. 6,” when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the building to stop the certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden’s election win.
At least five people died during the attack, including Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who defended the building from the insurrectionists. Howard Liebengood, who was at the Capitol during the siege, died days later by suicide.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on an article of inciting the mob but the Senate acquitted the former president on Saturday.
According to the union, the seven high-ranking leaders of the Capitol individually received a vote of no confidence from the force.
For Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, 92% of officers voted they had no confidence in her leadership. The other six leaders also received votes of no confidence, some at higher .
“The Board took this unprecedented step after receiving details of the events on, and leading up to, Jan. 6 and the subsequent deaths of six people, and injuries to approximately 140 Capitol and Metropolitan Police officers,” the statement said.
“Our leadership clearly failed us,” union chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement. “We know because we were there.”
Pittman, who was announced acting chief of police on Jan. 8 after former head Steven Sund resigned, issued a statement on the vote, stating she is “committed to ensuring every officer gets what they need and deserve.”
“It’s been just over one month since one of our nation’s darkest days, and the trauma is still incredibly raw and difficult for many officers who fought heroically on the 6th,” she said. “Since being sworn in on Jan. 8, my executive team and I have made the well-being of our officers our top priority. While progress has been made, more work remains.”
Pittman late last month told Congress that the department was aware that militia and White supremacist groups planned to target the Capitol.
Papathanasiou responded to Pittman’s admission, calling it “startling.”
“The disclosure that the entire executive team knew what was coming but did not better prepare us for potential violence, including the possible use of firearms against us, is unconscionable,” he said. “The fact that they did not relay this information to the officers on duty prior to the insurrection is inexcusable.”