WASHINGTON (CN) — U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund submitted his resignation on Thursday, a day after pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol building in an unsuccessful attempt to halt the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.
After the violent mob of Trump supporters overran the Capitol on Wednesday and temporarily disrupted the effort by Congress to certify Biden’s victory, Capitol Police leadership faced severe criticism for its failure to prepare.
Compared to law enforcement’s level preparation and aggressive response over the summer to marchers protesting police brutality, the Capitol Police on Wednesday appeared to display a soft-touch approach toward the pro-Trump extremists.
Preparing only for “First Amendment activities,” the department had declined an offer from the Pentagon to provide assistance from the National Guard three days prior to the melee, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.
As the rioting began, Capitol Police leadership turned down the Justice Department’s offer to send FBI agents to the scene.
Four people died as a result of Wednesday’s insurrection, including Ashli Babbitt, who was shot inside the Capitol by an officer.
Many U.S. lawmakers and other officials contend that much more should have — and could have — been done by leadership to prevent the attack.
Sund’s resignation memo on Thursday, effective Jan. 16, did not come out of the blue.
“I am calling for the resignation of the chief of the Capitol Police, Mr. Sund, and I have received notice from Mr. Irving that he will be submitting his resignation,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a press conference on Thursday.
During the conference, the California Democrat said House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving would resign as a result of Wednesday’s mayhem.
“United States Capitol Police (USCP) officers and our law enforcement partners responded valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions as they stormed the United States Capitol Building,” Sund said in an earlier statement Thursday in which he had defended his department’s response to the mob.
In his statement, Sund detailed the violence that led to the injury of more than 50 USCP and MPD officers including Trump supporters attacking law enforcement officers with metal pipes and discharging chemical irritants and other weapons.
“The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced, and I continue to have tremendous respect in the professionalism and dedication of the women and men of the United States Capitol Police,” Sund added.