Capitol Police chief forced to resign amid pressure from Pelosi

The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund, was forced to resign Thursday, NPR reported, amid intense pressure from lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Sund’s resignation, which comes in the wake of a violent breach of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump earlier this week, will reportedly be effective Jan. 16.

Pelosi demands resignation

According to The Hill, the speaker had first demanded on Thursday morning a “full review” of what transpired the day before, when federal law enforcement officers were overwhelmed by a massive crowd of rioters ostensibly protesting the congressional certification of the Electoral College results that rendered Joe Biden the president-elect.

“What was underestimated? That the president of the United States would not be as inciteful?” Pelosi told journalists, as The Hill reported. “Perhaps somebody thought for a moment that he would be patriotic before he leaves office for just this once.”

Pelosi also reportedly stressed the need for increased security to ensure the events of Wednesday don’t repeat themselves come Jan. 20, when Biden will be inaugurated.

A “change at the top”

According to NBC News, Chief Sund’s announced resignation also came amid pressure from his department’s own union, which insisted in the wake of the riot that a “change at the top” of the Capitol Police force was necessary.

Union chair Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement that Capitol Police officers were “frustrated and demoralized” by what had occurred, and while they’re grateful that neither members of Congress nor their staffers were injured in the breach, it’s still clear that there’d been a failure in leadership.

One Capitol officer ended up dying as a result of the attack.

“Questions asked and answers given”

The officer was later identified as 42-year-old Brian Sicknick, who died Thursday of injuries sustained while “physically engaging with protesters” the day before, police said, according to CBS News.

“There has to be a lot of questions asked and answers given,” former Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said in an interview with NBC, acknowledging the department’s “failures.”

“What is very clear is the police underestimated the violent crowd and the size of it, and they overestimated their ability to control it,” he added.

In addition to Sund, the sergeants-at-arms for the House and Senate — each the top law enforcement officer in his respective chamber — were also pushed to tender their resignations Thursday, Politico reported.

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