Report on Capitol Hill riot criticises police preparation, response

Report on Capitol Hill riot criticises police preparation, response
Report on Capitol Hill riot criticises police preparation, response

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A mob of supporters of US President Donald storm the US Capitol Building in Washington January 6, 2021. — Reuters pic

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WASHINGTON, April 14 — Capitol Police had more intelligence than was previously known ahead of the January 6 riot at Congress but were instructed not to use their most aggressive tactics to repel the mob, a report cited late Tuesday by US media said.

The scathing 104-page report by the Capitol Police’s internal inspector general, Michael Bolton, concluded that officers did not prepare for or respond adequately to the assault, The New York Times and CNN reported.

A congressional hearing on the report is scheduled for Thursday.

Capitol Police failed to prepare properly even though they had intelligence warnings that Trump supporters who believed his claims that the November election was stolen from him posed a threat, the report states.

Police were told to refrain from using their most aggressive crowd control tools such as stun grenades, it said.

Three days before the assault the Capitol Police received an intelligence assessment warning of violence by Trump supporters.

“Unlike previous postelection protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter protesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” this threat assessment said, according to the Times.

“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,” it added.

But a day before the riot the agency wrote in a plan for the protest that there were “no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress” at which lawmakers were to formally certify Joe Biden’s victory over Trump.

On orders from supervisors, the police unit that specialises in handling large groups of protesters was not allowed to use some of its most powerful tools and techniques against the crowd, the report is quoted as saying.

“Heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership,” Bolton wrote.

Some of the shields that officers used shattered upon impact because they had not been stored under the right temperature.

And some shields could not be used because there were locked on a bus, the report says. — AFP

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