Former Capitol Police Chief Says His Request For National Guard Backup Was Denied
The US Capitol’s ex-police chief officer says his request for National Guard backup was denied during Wednesday’s riots.
Steven Sund resigned from his role on Thursday, January 7, following the riot that left five people dead.
He received backlash for his handling of the situation, but he’s now spoken out in his first interview since the riot and said his request for additional help was denied.
Sund has also said that he expressed concerns about the size of the riot in the days running up to it, which spurred on his request of backup.
As per The Washington Post, Sund said, ‘We knew it would be bigger. We looked at the intelligence. We knew we would have large crowds, the potential for some violent altercations. I had nothing indicating we would have a large mob seize the Capitol.’
According to Sund, not only were his requests for backup from the National Guard denied before the riot, his further requests were denied while the riot was taking place and evidently getting out of hand.
Sund recalled to The Washington Post that he said:
I am making an urgent, urgent immediate request for National Guard assistance. I have got to get boots on the ground.
On the call where he said this, there were several DC officials on the line, as well as officials from the Pentagon.
Sund said he was ‘flabbergasted’ that Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt – who was on the call – denied his request. Piatt supposedly said, ‘I don’t like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background.’
John Falcicchio, the chief of staff for D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said to The Washington Post that Sund’s phone call is ‘burned in [his] memories’ as the man was ‘crying out for help’.
Eventually the National Guard did turn up after the riot had be quelled at 5:40pm; nearly four hours after it broke out.
Prior to Sund’s interview, the Pentagon issued a statement that completely contradicts what the former officer said.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said last week, ‘We rely on Capitol Police and federal law enforcement to provide an assessment of the situation and based on that assessment that they had, they believed they had sufficient personnel and did not make a request.’
However, backing up Sund’s claims is Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan who said the Pentagon ‘took hours’ to send the National Guard to help.
As per USA Today, Hogan said:
I was in the middle of a meeting when my chief of staff came in and said the Capitol was under attack. […] We were in contact with the mayor’s office, who requested assistance. We immediately sent police assistance. I immediately called up the National Guard.
He added, ‘All I know is that we were trying to get answers and we weren’t getting answers.’
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