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The deadly siege focuses attention on the congressional police

Washington (Associated Press)-There is a serious shortage of police officers.

When thousands of rioters who came to Trump rushed into the building, only a few dozen guarded the western front of the US Capitol.

According to a video widely circulated on YouTube, these thugs rushed through the thin police line holding metal pipes, pepper spray and other weapons. A thug threw a fire extinguisher at a police officer.

“They are going to enter the Capitol tonight! They are coming in,”

; the man filming shouted happily.

They broke the line later, and the rioters quickly broke into the building, took over the chambers of the House of Representatives and Senate, and ran wildly in the hall of statues and other sacred symbols of democracy. The mob ransacked this place, Smashed windows and waved the flags of Trump, the United States and the Allies. The congressman who voted for President Biden’s victory was forced to hide for several hours.

Throughout the melee, the police officers were injured, mocked, mocked and threatened. Brian Sicknick, a police officer in the Capitol, was injured in the riot Thursday night and died. A group of supporters of President Donald Trump instigated the melee, claiming to love law enforcement and mocking the large-scale police reform protests that shocked the country after the police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.

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“We supported you in the summer.” A man yelled to three police officers, who were facing a door with their backs to the door, and dozens of men screamed for them to avoid. “When the whole country hates you, we will support you!”

The riots shocked the world and brought the country on the verge of collapse, forcing three senior Capitol Security officials to resign after failing to stop the violations. The lawmakers asked for a review of the operation and asked the FBI to report what they called a “terrorist attack.”

Sicknick is the fifth person to die in the violence at the Capitol.

One woman from California was shot and killed by Congress police, and three others died after a “medical emergency” related to the violation, including at least those who died from an apparent heart attack.

Two law enforcement officials said that Sicknick, 42 ​​years old, was hit in the head by a fire extinguisher during the struggle, although it is unclear whether he was the official shown in the video. Officials were unable to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly, and socially chat with the United States on an anonymous basis.

Another disturbing video shows a bloody police officer screaming for help when rioters in the Capitol were crushed to death. The young officer was fixed between the riot shield and the metal door. He bleeds from his mouth and screams in pain, “Help!”

Other pictures showed that the police were completely overwhelmed by dissatisfied mobs, who pushed, kicked and rushed into the building. In a stunning video, a lone police officer tried to stop a group of demonstrators from breaking into the hall. He failed.

People used pipes, sprayed irritants and even bombs found in the area to attack the police.

Hinick’s family said on Friday that he wanted to be a policeman all his life. Before joining the Capitol Police in 2008, he served in the New Jersey Air National Guard. Many details about this incident are still unknown, and Sicknick’s family urged the public and news media not to treat his death as a political issue.

Nevertheless, the riots and the death of Sicknick have refocused attention on the congressional police. A force of more than 2,300 military officers and civilian employees protects the Capitol, parliamentarians, staff and visitors. The agency’s annual budget is approximately US$515 million.

Three days before the riots, the Pentagon provided National Guard personnel. As the mob landed on the building on Wednesday, leaders of the Justice Department reached out to recruit FBI agents. According to senior defense officials and two people familiar with the matter, the Congressional police rejected them twice.

Despite a lot of warnings that a rebellion might occur, and sufficient resources and time have been prepared, the police only planned a free speech demonstration.

Like many other agencies, the Congressional Police have been hit hard by COVID-19, the timetables of military officers often change, and many people are forced to work overtime to fill out the roster. The epidemic has put the police under the strain to enter a new session of Congress, and President-elect Biden took office on January 20.

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund (Steven Sund)Under pressure from Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders, resign on Thursday to defend the Department of Defense’s response. Two other senior security officials, the Senate Sergeant of Arms Michael Stanger and the Senator Paul Owens also resigned.

As of Friday, prosecutors have filed 14 cases in federal district courts and 40 other cases in the District of Columbia Superior Court, involving crimes including assaulting police, entering the restricted area of ​​the US Capitol, stealing federal property and threatening lawmakers. Prosecutors said that other cases are still under investigation, federal agents are looking for dozens of others, and US prosecutors in Washington vowed that “all plans are on the negotiating table,” including possible incitement.

Among the indictments was Richard Barnett, a man from Arkansas, who was sitting in the boots on a chair in Pelosi’s office and was widely viewed. He also wrote a derogatory note to Pelosi. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen referred to Barnett’s photos as “shocking images” and “offensive.”

Rosen said: “Persons who are proven to have committed criminal acts during the attack on the Capitol will face judicial sanctions.”

The other accused was a member of West Virginia. He posted a video online showing his route in the Capitol, hitting a policeman with his fist, and then running around in the rotunda. Shouting “Our house!” Congressman Derrick Evans was arrested at the FBI’s home on Friday and charged with access to restricted federal property.

Gus Papathanasiou, president of the Congressional Police Federation, said that he is “very proud of the individual officials who can protect the lives of hundreds of members of Congress and their staff.”

He said that once the Capitol is inevitably violated, officials prioritize life over property and bring people to safety. “None of the members of Congress or their staff were injured. Our officers did their job. Our leadership did not. Our law enforcement partners who helped us were outstanding.”

Representative Tim Ryan of the subcommittee responsible for monitoring the budget of the Congressional Police said on Friday that ordinary military officers are “in an extremely dangerous situation. And this is where I feel frustrated.”

Sund and other leaders are responsible for protecting legislators, “but also to ensure that ordinary members are placed in a situation where they are as safe as possible and get the support they need. This is clearly not the case,” Ryan said.

Pelosi ordered the flag to be lowered at the Capitol in memory of Sicknick.


Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro in Washington, Nomaan Merchant in Houston and Derek Karikari in New York contributed to this report.

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