Lawmakers Outraged By How Police Handled Capitol Siege, Vow Investigation

Politicians have pledged an investigation into the violence in Washington on Wednesday, that culminated with the storming of the capitol building and the death of a woman.

A number of leading figures have been quick to ask whether the police were under-prepared for the breach, which began at around 2.15pm as the House and Senate debated the presidential election results. A violent mob of President Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and forced lawmakers to crouch under desks and wear gas marks.

Police attempts to barricade the Capitol building proved futile, and a woman was shot and killed inside. In all, proceedings were interrupted for almost seven hours, and Washington's mayor instituted a curfew in an attempt to contain the violence.

Trump 'Stop The Steal' MAGA Washington rally
Crowds gather outside the US Capitol for the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. After a violent mob descended on the Capitol, police were criticised for their ineffectual response. Robert Nicklesberg/Getty

Diplomat and Stanford academic Professor Michael McFaul, was one of many on Twitter to call for proper accountability into Wednesday's event.

"I am dumfounded by how poorly we were prepared to defend our Capitol today. We need an independent investigation," he tweeted.

Representative Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, said the breach "raises grave security concerns", and confirmed that her committee would work with House and Senate leaders to review the police response.

Rep. Val Demings D-Fla., a former police chief, was starker with her criticism, saying it was 'painfully obvious' that Capitol police 'were not prepared'.

'I certainly thought that we would have had a stronger show of force, that there would have been steps taken in the very beginning to make sure that there was a designated area for the protesters in a safe distance from the Capitol,' she said.

Demings told MSNBC she felt police appeared woefully understaffed, and that "it did not seem that they had a clear operational plan to really deal with" the riots.

The police will come under especial scrutiny, as Wednesday's protests were planned well in advance, meaning authorities should have had plenty of time to assess possible risks and make necessary preparations.

President Trump has used calls of a "rigged" election to stoke fervor among his support base, since losing the Presidential election to Biden in November.

A report by investigation organisation Advance Democracy seen by Newsweek yesterday, and covered by another news outlet, warned of a number of posts on far-right sites and social media that threatened violence.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said the obvious solution would be to implement leadership changes at the Capitol police.

"I think it's pretty clear that there's going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon because this is an embarrassment both on behalf of the mob, and the president, and the insurrection, and the attempted coup, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur," Ryan said.

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., meanwhile expressed outrage over accounts on social media of a Capitol Police officer posing for a photo with a protester. "Would you take a selfie with someone who was robbing a bank?" she asked. "I can't imagine if a couple of thousand of (Black Lives Matters) protesters had descended on the Capitol ... that there would be 13 people arrested."