Capitol Police inquiry into Jan. 6 riot recommends disciplining six officers
By Emily Cochrane
Capitol Police investigators have recommended disciplinary action against six police officers for their actions during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, when supporters of Donald Trump stormed the building in an effort to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
Three officers were singled out for unbecoming conduct, one officer for failure to comply with directives, one officer for improper remarks and one officer for improper dissemination of information, the Capitol Police said in a statement Saturday.
None of the officers, or details about the recommended penalties, were identified. No criminal charges will be filed, after the U.S. attorney’s office did not find sufficient evidence to do so.
The internal inquiry, which was conducted by the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, covered 38 investigations, although investigators failed to identify 12 officers involved in the cases. One investigation, into an unidentified official who was “accused of unsatisfactory performance and conduct unbecoming,” remains open, according to the statement.
The security failures stemming from the Jan. 6 breach has cast scrutiny on the secretive agency, which is responsible for protecting the Capitol complex. Officer Brian Sicknick died in the hospital after fending off the mob, and at least 73 officers were hurt that day after being assaulted with flagpoles, fire extinguishers and hockey sticks, injuries that ranged from bruises to concussions and burns.
Even as the majority of the police force grapple with the trauma of the attack, videos widely circulating on social media appeared to show some officers treating the rioters sympathetically or doing little to stop them from entering the complex.
After the riot, the Capitol Police announced it would open an investigation, with at least six officers suspended with pay at the time. The agency made public the results of its internal investigation Saturday only after sharing details with the Justice Department, which in turn notified the lawyers representing clients charged in connection to the riot.
In its statement, the Capitol Police said it was “committed to accountability when officers fail to meet the standards governed by USCP policies and the congressional community’s expectations” and the six violations “should not diminish the heroic efforts” of most officers who defended the building.
Last month, agency leaders said they had cleared Lt. Michael Byrd, who fatally shot a rioter during the attack, of any wrongdoing after investigators found he had acted lawfully and potentially saved lawmakers, aides and others in the House chamber from harm or death.
J. Thomas Manger, a veteran police chief from the Washington region, took over the department in July after the Capitol Police chief at the time, Steven Sund, resigned along with the Senate and House sergeants-at-arms. The police union also issued a vote of no confidence in agency leadership.