District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a press conference on DC statehood at the Capitol in Washington DC on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
Caroline Brehman | CQ appeal | Getty Images
The Mayor of Washington, D.C., called on Congress to set up a panel to investigate the vulnerabilities that allowed a mob to break into the U.S. Capitol Complex and threaten lawmakers.
The call came Thursday as the U.S. Capitol Police underwent an audit to allow President Donald Trump's supporters to rave about the Capitol while hundreds of elected leaders – including the first, second and third in line in the presidential succession – were in House were.
"Congress needs to set up a bipartisan commission to understand the catastrophic security flaws that occurred in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, to hold people accountable and to make sure it never happens again," Democrat Bowser said in a billed address as a situational update.
"We also need to understand why the federal response to the summer protests was much stronger than it was to yesterday's attack on Congress," said Bowser, referring to the overwhelming response to those who protested police violence following the assassination of George Floyd .
The U.S. Capitol Police defended their actions on Wednesday as criticism mounted. Police chief Steven Sund said in a statement that his officers "reacted bravely".
"These individuals actively attacked US Capitol and other uniformed police officers with metal pipes, emitted chemical irritants and used other weapons against our officers," Sund said in a statement. "You were determined to enter the Capitol, doing great damage."
A protester yells "freedom" in the Senate Chamber after the US Capitol was breached by a mob during a joint congressional session on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee | Getty Images
At least 50 officials were injured in the attack, including several who were hospitalized with serious injuries, Sund said Thursday. Four people died in the riot, including a woman who was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer and three who died of unspecified "medical emergencies".
The Capitol Police have a sworn force of about 2,000 officers and an additional 350 civilians, according to their website. Its mission is to "protect Congress – its members, staff, visitors and facilities – so that it can carry out its constitutional and legislative duties in a safe and open environment."
The Capitol Police have arrested 14 people in connection with the riots, according to a press release published online. In the update of the situation, Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee said that officers had arrested 68 people, 41 of whom were arrested on US Capitol grounds.
"When the US Capitol Police asked for help, MPD answered the call," Contee said.
The protests had been long awaited and led to criticism from some lawmakers, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
"This was seen on social media. President Trump literally instigated them. They communicated what they were going to do and we needed a lot of presence," Klobuchar said on ABC's The View on Thursday. "There was no adequate planning for it and every detail needs to be examined."
Bowser also urged Congress to transfer control of the DC National Guard from the president to its office.
About 1,100 DC National Guard soldiers were mobilized Wednesday in response to the riots after House Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Bowser asked for their assistance, but Trump had to be convinced to send them, reports NBC News.
Bowser, who has maintained a hostile relationship with the president for years, also called for Trump "to be held accountable for this unprecedented attack on our democracy."
"What happened yesterday was what he wanted, and we must not underestimate the damage he can do to our nation and our democracy in the next two weeks," said Bowser.
"And it's not just the president who needs to be held accountable. So are the local terrorists who stormed the Capitol and threatened members of Congress," she added.
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said federal indictments are imminent for those responsible for the attack.
"Our law enforcement agencies worked all evening with special agents and investigators from the US Capitol Police, the FBI, the ATF, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the public to gather evidence, identify perpetrators, and prosecute federal crimes when warranted," said Roses make a statement.
"Some of those involved in yesterday's violence are charged today, and we will continue to methodically evaluate evidence, indict crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure those responsible are held accountable under the law," he said.
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