The attack on the U.S. Capitol might be over (at least for now), but the fallout continues as more of the criminals who attempted a siege on the building are being sought out and arrested, and calls for Donald Trump’s immediate removal from office have intensified. There is also the non-shocking revelation that off-duty police officers from all over the country took part in the foolish protest that descended into lawlessness.
Now, the Capitol police chief is stepping down earlier than expected amid criticism on the handling of the attack by law enforcement, and a second Capitol officer who was present during the riot has died.
From the Washington Post:
Chief Steven Sund had said Thursday that his resignation would be effective Jan. 16, hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly called on him to step down.
But Assistant Chief Yogananda D. Pittman took control of the agency on Friday, according to the agency’s website. A Capitol Police officer since 2001, she was one of the first Black female supervisors to become a captain. She led her unit in providing security for the 2013 presidential inauguration, the website says, and in 2018 was promoted to deputy chief.
The Capitol Police did not request significant help from other law enforcement agencies in advance of the siege, which unfolded as lawmakers attempted to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. In an interview with The Washington Post on Sunday, Sund said he sought such help but was rebuffed by his bosses in Congress.
The department did not have enough of its own officers and fortifications — or a backup plan in place — to keep the rioters out of the building.
It’s almost as if Black women are being called on to solve all of America’s problems.
Anyway, in more tragic news: An officer with the Capitol police, Howard Liebengood, 51, has reportedly died by suicide following the violent event last week. According to Fox 5 D.C., Liebengood was off-duty Saturday when he took his own life. Liebengood was a responding officer to the chaos at the Capitol but it’s unclear whether the attack was directly tied to his death. The exact cause of death has not been reported.
“Every Capitol Police Officer puts the security of others before their own safety and Officer Liebengood was an example of the selfless service that is the hallmark of USCP,” Capitol Police Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement, Fox 5 reports. “This is a tragic day.”
The Post reports that on Sunday, Trump ordered flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Liebengood—who had been with the Capitol police since 2005 and was assigned to the Senate Division—and Brian D. Sicknick who died on Thursday due to injuries sustained during the riot.
Legislators who knew Liebengood, such as Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) and former senator and Secretary of State John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), lamented the officer’s death via Twitter.
The attack on the Capitol was tragic and avoidable, and it should serve as a reminder to America of the dangers of allowing elected officials to spread propaganda. There’s a lot of blood on a lot of hands, and as the nation attempts to start the healing process, our leaders would do well to understand that if they aren’t held accountable for their actions and the messages they send, history will undoubtedly repeat itself.