Capitol Hill police: Heroes or cowards?

Capitol Hill police: Heroes or cowards?

BY Leroy Dixon

Monday, January 25, 2021

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The events of January 6, 2021 will be etched in our memories forever, as seeing a violent mob storm, with little or no real resistance from those expected to protect it, what one would believe would have been amongst the safest buildings in the world is certainly not an everyday occurrence.

From a law enforcement perspective, there are far more questions than answers, and I believe that those questions will never really be fully answered in the public domain, partially because there are aspects of the truth in this instance that many of us are simply unable to stomach.

While I have heard it said that the Capitol Hill police were heroes for the restraint shown on that now fateful day, I have a slightly different perspective: Police are sworn to 'Serve and Protect', and many of the officers that I saw did anything but that in permitting — and in some instances inviting — the violent crowd of hooligans into the hallowed halls of the US Capitol building and to within mere metres of the highest ranking lawmakers and government officials, including Vice-President Mike Pence.

One should never look solely at the outcome of an event to judge the actions or inactions of those who contributed to it. This seems to be what those who are calling the police officers — many of whom fled from the crowd, weapons firmly holstered at their sides — heroes have forgotten.

I am left to wonder if a few in the crowd had travelled with pipe bombs and totally decimated the Capitol building and all those inside of it, if some of those policemen who are now being heralded as heroes would swiftly, and perhaps rightly, obtain the status of cowardly villains.

While I agree wholeheartedly that the officers in question showed incredible restraint, I cannot help but feel that the situation as it unfolded called for anything but that. Law enforcement officers are trained to utilise minimal force necessary to deal with any and all situations. That said, they are also trained to use justifiable lethal force as and when necessary to protect their lives and the lives of those they are sworn to serve and protect. A thorough security debrief of this incident will, in my opinion, show that they certainly failed to execute their responsibilities in this regard, and that they were fortunate that the tragic results of the incursion were not far, far worse.

While the abject failure of law enforcement in handling the crowd is obvious, their failure to prepare for what was a threat that a blind man could have seen coming is where the real failure lies, as threat assessment after threat assessment would have accurately forecast the happenings on the day if adequate personnel, barriers, and the like were not deployed. As it is said, when one fails to prepare , you prepare to fail, and this is an accurate depiction of all parties involved in “securing” the Capitol building on the day in question.

With this in mind, it is little wonder that the chief of the Capitol Hill police force resigned and he, along with those officers seen ushering the mob of hooligans inside the building, should have many more questions to answer pertaining to their actions or inactions which contributed to what must be considered the greatest security fiasco in modern day times.

I have heard it said that were the protesters in this instance members of the Black Lives Matter movement the police would not have hesitated to use deadly force to repel them. Those making this argument seem to suggest that the police, in such an instance, would have been wrong and their actions would have been solely racially motivated. While I agree wholeheartedly that the police would quite likely, and sadly, have been more inclined to use lethal force on such a crowd, I feel strongly that they would have been totally justified in so doing, just as the Capitol Hill police personnel should have forcibly repelled the unruly mob of mostly white insurrectionists who decided and proved on January 6, 2021 that they were in fact simply above the law.

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