Dark times for the Capitol Police

(Washington) The US Capitol Police is going through a dark period.

Nauman Merchant, Eric Tucker, and Marie Claire Gallonic
Associated Press

One policeman was killed and another wounded on Friday afternoon, when a man apparently suffering from psychological problems stormed his car.

Earlier this year, Capitol Hill police were overwhelmed by an angry mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump. One policeman was killed and another committed suicide.

Dozens of police officers are considering early retirement, and many prominent leaders have left, and those still there are not unanimous.

The head of the Capitol Police Union said members were “shaken” Friday afternoon by the death of Cop Billy Evans, who had been on duty for 18 years.

Photo by Alexander Drago, Reuters

Police shot dead a man who crashed into a barrier in the Capitol after getting out of his car with a knife in his hand on Friday.

His death comes on the heels of the killing of police officer Brian Seknick, who was among hundreds of officers who tried to fend off the rioters on 6 January without having the necessary equipment or directions. A few days later, police officer Howard Liebingood ended his life.

Hundreds of police officers are planning to retire or find other jobs, union leader Gus Papathanasio said in a statement. He warned that “they continue to work and we are rapidly approaching a crisis of morale and staff,” adding that police officers who are still on duty are forced to work for a long overtime.

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Dozens of police officers were injured on January 6, and others were granted leave during an internal investigation into the police response, including the response of the officer who shot a 35-year-old woman as she tried to enter the Capitol through a window. This has weakened the power of the more than 200 vacancies, or about 10% of the power it is entitled to.

In the months following the mutiny, many police officers worked more than 12 hours a day to protect the Capitol building during the swearing-in and impeachment proceedings of Donald Trump.

Acting President Yogananda Pitman received a vote of no confidence from the union in February, showing distrust among police officers. MI Bateman was the deputy chief of intelligence during the riots, and she admitted not seeing the US Federal Police warning of a “war” on Capitol Hill the day before the mutiny.

Photography by Alex Brandon, Associate Journalist

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pitman

Outgoing President Stephen Sund, who left in January on the sidelines of the riots, told the Associated Press that the police officers he spoke with were “on their teeth.”

The Capitol Police is not a typical police force. About 2,000 of its officers are the only ones responsible for protecting Congress – its members, visitors, and facilities.

Noah Green, the 25-year-old man involved in Friday’s attack, was shot dead by police when he got out of his car with a knife. He died soon after in the hospital. There is no known connection between the rebellion and Mr. Green, who claimed on the Internet that the government was controlling his thoughts and that he was being watched.

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New concrete barriers have been erected around the barricade where Mr. Evans and a colleague were, north of the Capitol. Retired Lieutenant General Russell Honoré, who headed a task force that made several security recommendations after the mutiny, said Friday’s attack was a reminder that the Capitol will always be a target.

Photo by Eric Berdat, AFP archive

A National Guard member walks past a concrete checkpoint set up at a Capitol checkpoint on March 3.

“It’s the most important building in the United States, because it’s the seat of our democracy,” General Honoré told ABC at the weekend. If this building and the people inside it are not working, then we will not have democracy anymore and whatever price must be paid to protect it, it must be done. ”

The task force called for further efforts to fill 233 vacancies within the police force. He also asked Congress to fund 350 new jobs and new infrastructure, such as new fences. The capitol police chief should also have the authority to request the assistance of the National Guard in the event of a crisis.

Mr Papathanasiou, the union’s leader, said he agreed with General Honoré, whom he was to meet last Thursday.

“As I explained to him, these improvements are necessary, but our priority should be to retain our police officers,” he said. There are immediate steps Congress can take to achieve this. ”

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