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Capitol Police: What we know about the 2 officers suspended, more investigated in DC riots

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/13/2021 Matthew Brown, USA TODAY
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Corrections and clarifications: The status of a Capitol Police officer was misstated. No Capitol Police officers were arrested. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, corrected his statement. 

Two Capitol Police officers were suspended and at least 10 are under investigation for their conduct during last week’s Capitol riot, according to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

 Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told House Democrats on Monday that as many as 15 instances of officer misconduct are under investigation.

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One of the suspended officers allegedly wore a “Make America Great Again” hat and joined the rioters who stormed the Capitol Jan. 6, while another was videotaped taking selfies with the mob.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Capitol police guard a barricaded door as protesters try to break into the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. © Andrew Harnik, AP Capitol police guard a barricaded door as protesters try to break into the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

"The Capitol Police are looking at everybody involved that potentially facilitated, on a big level or small level in any way, and it's important that they're cracking down on that," Ryan told reporters Monday.

a group of people wearing costumes: Witness the chaos as rioters breach U.S. Capitol Police barricades and assault officers © Provided by USA TODAY Witness the chaos as rioters breach U.S. Capitol Police barricades and assault officers

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Ryan chairs the legislative branch subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Capitol Police. He said they did not have any evidence that members of the department had cooperated with rioters in an "inside job."

Capitol Police "will investigate these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination. Several USCP officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations," said acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman. 

The mob ransacked the Capitol and five people died, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. At least 170 people are being investigated and at least 25 for charges of terrorism.

Capitol Police 'failures'

In the aftermath of a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol to prevent Congress from counting the state-certified Electoral College votes of President-elect Joe Biden's November victory,  the Capitol Police department has come under intense scrutiny for its failure to defend the seat of American government.

Steven Sund, former department head, resigned shortly after the riot. 

“Many of our Capitol Police just acted so bravely and with such concern for the staff, the members, for the Capitol ... and they deserve our gratitude. But there was a failure at the top of the Capitol Police,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said when she called for Sund's resignation. 

The Pentagon was asked to review all members of the security detail for Biden's inauguration Jan. 20 to ensure they are "not sympathetic to domestic terrorists," according to Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.

SECRET SERVICE: Inauguration a 'zero fail mission,' promises 'robust' security

Officers injured in riot

The pro-Trump mob that assaulted the Capitol came armed with various blunt objects, chemical irritants, sharp weapons and even firearms. Several videos show police being beaten over the head with flag poles, a wrench and clubs while still defending themselves against a frenzied blur of rioters.

In one disturbing video, an officer in riot gear is seen being crushed in one of the metal doors of the Capitol as a mob repeatedly beats him and attempts to crush their way through the entrance. Other officers were trampled in stampedes of the president's supporters.

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Another video shows an officer dragged down the steps of the capitol by a mob and repeatedly beaten with clubs. The officer was eventually rescued by fellow law enforcement who briefly beat back the crowd with batons.

Another officer was cornered by a large crowd and assaulted with a chemical irritant. Multiple images from across the Capitol complex show rioters far outnumbering police, leading to questions of why the force was so understaffed for protests that had advertised for weeks.

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Rioters killed one Capitol Police officer. Officer Brian Sicknick was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher by a member of the mob, according to Capitol Police, and died the next day. Sicknick was a member of the department's First Responders Unit and had served since 2008.

"There really aren't enough kind words in any language to describe how sweet Brian was.  He was truly a lovely, humble soul," the Capitol Police said in a statement.

"He loved his job with the U.S. Capitol Police, and was very passionate about it," the statement continues. "Our loss of Brian will leave a large hole in our hearts."

Capitol heroes

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After the mob successfully infiltrated the Capitol from multiple entry points, officers adopted at times highly divergent responses to the breach.

Multiple brawls between police and rioters broke out in the halls of Congress. The mob ransacked offices and destroyed furniture, according to video and photo evidence. Capitol Police eventually deployed tear gas to disperse rioters.

Some officers rose to the challenge posed by the crisis. Eugene Goodman, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, was videotaped drawing the ire of part of the mob just as they were poised to enter the Senate chambers, where lawmakers were still present.

Goodman, a black man, can be seen goading the large crowd of overwhelmingly white men, several of whom carried blunt instruments, as well as Confederate, Nazi and QAnon clothing and flags. Goodman is being hailed as a hero in the wake of the violent attack.

In the video, Goodman can be seen shoving one of the rioters, later identified by the FBI as Doug Jensen of Iowa. The crowd then chased Goodman, who went in the opposite direction of the Senate Chamber.

Calls to award Goodman the Congressional Medal of Freedom and other accolades gained steam online after the video surfaced.

Capitol Police: Who they are, what they do

The Capitol Police is the law enforcement agency charged with guarding Congress, especially within the Capitol complex and surrounding federal buildings, including the Supreme Court, Library of Congress and Senate and House office buildings.

The department is separate from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and federal law enforcement agencies like the Secret Service, which protects the president and other major leaders, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Like many federal law enforcement agents, Capitol Police are trained for two months at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga.

The organization has a budget of $516 million in Congress' latest appropriation, according to government records. By comparison, the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's annual "gross" budget for the fiscal year 2021 will be $562 million.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Capitol Police: What we know about the 2 officers suspended, more investigated in DC riots

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