Capitol Police officers give vote of no confidence in leaders

Capitol Police officers voiced their displeasure with the department’s top leaders with an overwhelming vote of no confidence, after scores of officers were injured, one officer died and two committed suicide following the January 6 assault on the Capitol by crowds of President Trump’s supporters.

The U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, the union that represents thousands of U.S. Capitol Police officers, announced that 92% of Capitol Police officers voted that they had no confidence in Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman, and substantial majorities also voted no confidence in six other top leaders in the department. 

The previous chief, Steven Sund, resigned under pressure as officials cast blame on him for the massive security failures of January 6 on him. 

“Capitol Police offers have delivered an overwhelming vote of No Confidence in the senior leadership of the U.S. Capitol Police,” the union said in a news release. “The Executive Board of the Capitol Police Union called for rank-and-file members to consider a vote of no confidence late last week following the senior leadership’s mishandling of the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th. The board took this unprecedented step after reviewing details of the events on, and leading up to, January 6th and the subsequent deaths of 6 people, and injuries to approximately 140 Capitol and Metropolitan Police officers.” 

“[O]ur leadership clearly failed us. We know because we were there,” union chairman Gus Papathanasiou said, according to the statement.

In late January, Pittman told members of Congress that the department had known by January 4 that the demonstration on January 6 “would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020.”

“We knew that militia groups and white supremacist organizations would be attending. We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target,” Pittman said. 

That the leadership team “knew what was coming but did not better prepare us for potential violence, including the possible use of firearms against us, is unconscionable,” union chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement after Pittman’s testimony.

On Monday night, Pittman released a conciliatory statement in response to the no-confidence vote. “It’s been just over one month since one of our nation’s darkest days, and the trauma is still incredibly raw and difficult for the many officers who fought heroically on the 6th. Since being sworn in on January 8th, my executive team and I have made the well-being of our officers our top priority,” she said. “While progress has been made, more work remains. And I am committed to ensuring every officer gets what they need and deserve.” 

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said it’s time to pass more funding for Capitol security and for the security of individual members. She’s calling for an independent, 9/11-style commission to review the security failures on January 6.

— CBS News’ Rebecca Kaplan and Nikole Killion contributed to this report. 

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