(CBS News) – The U.S. Capitol Police have suspended six officers with pay in the wake of the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and the department is investigating the actions of 35 police officers from that day, Capitol Police said Friday.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Capitol Police said, “Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman has directed that any member of her department whose behavior is not in keeping with the Department’s Rules of Conduct will face appropriate discipline.”
Capitol Police suspended two officers in January, according to Representative Tim Ryan, the Ohio Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. One of the suspended officers was seen taking selfies with rioters, and another put on a pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” hat during the attack, Ryan said.
The Capitol Police announcement comes amid internal divisions, as officers continue to criticize leadership for leaving them unprepared January 6. On Tuesday, the union that represents thousands of U.S. Capitol Police officers announced a vote of no confidence in Capitol Police senior leadership. The union said 92% of Capitol Police officers voted that they had no confidence in Pittman.
Pittman became acting chief after former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned, just a day after the violent protests. Sund said on 60 Minutes last month, “No leader wants to see their officers go through what they went through.”
In a statement provided to CBS News, Capitol Police Labor Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said the investigations “appear to be an attempt by USCP’s upper management to divert the attention away from their significant leadership failures of January 6th,” failures he said left officers unprepared. “This is just a witch hunt by the Department’s top leaders and a continuation of the systemic failures that continue at the top. I think it’s sickening that the Department’s leaders are even investigating over 35 officers because of USCP’s top management’s immediate failures as they try to point the fingers at Officers who were applauded by Congress this past week.”
Lawmakers have voiced support for Capitol Police in the wake of the riots, and Officer Eugene Goodman was given the Congressional Medal for leading rioters away from the Senate chamber.
Papathanasiou said last month in a statement provided to CBS8, “Between USCP and our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police Department, we have almost 140 officers injured. I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal disks. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake.”
Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told CBS News on Thursday that Capitol Police had been given intelligence suggesting there was a heightened threat on January 6. “Why they did not execute a plan, if they had a plan in place, to further protect that Capitol I think is an ongoing question,” Wolf said.