Extreme protesters easily seized Capitol Hill because law enforcement officers were prohibited from using the necessary force to neutralize them, an independent investigator found.
Michael A. Bolton delivered a scathing 104-page report on how police responded to the Capitol siege.
The inspector general blamed top brass for allowing the situation to escalate out of control because police leaders allegedly ordered officers not to use maximum force against rioters, according to the ‘Review of the Events Surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Takeover of the U.S. Capitol.’
“Heavier, less-lethal weapons [including stun grenades] were not used that day because of orders from leadership,” he said in the report according to The Hill.
Bolton criticized authorities for improperly storing riot shields in a non-climate controlled trailer, resulting in the equipment being “shattered upon impact.” He also accused police leaders of preventing officers from accessing new shields to replace the broken ones.
“When the crowd became unruly, the Civil Disturbance Unit platoon attempted to access the bus to distribute the shields but were unable because the door was locked,” he said according to the New York Times. “[This left the platoon] required to respond to the crowd without the protection of their riot shields.”
He was disappointed to discover the Civil Disturbance Unit had operated at a “decreased level of readiness” due to the “lack of standards for equipment.” He also suggested the poor police leadership was embarrassing because officers could have quickly contained the riot with the right equipment and staff numbers.
The standoff ultimately ended with smashed windows, vandalized public property, seized offices, and a complete evacuation of both the House and Senate inside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. About 140 police officers reported injuries during the clash, and officer Brian Sicknick died of unconfirmed causes.
The inspector general clarified the March to Save America Rally was not one of the “specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress.”
“Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” he said according to the paper.
Bolton revealed the only serious threat to the building was “white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence.”
“Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike,” he said.
He urged police leaders to accept his criticism and do a better job of upholding their duty to protect life and property from criminal activity.
“It is my hope that the recommendations will result in more effective, efficient, and/or economic operations,” he said.
The report appears to validate Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) previous remarks that former President Donald Trump could not possibly be held responsible for the riots.
Scott believes neither those peaceful demonstrators who stayed outside nor the president should be blamed for the siege.
“The one person I do not blame for that situation is President Trump,” he told Fox News’s “America Reports.” “I do not blame the nonviolent protesters outside. I blame the individuals coming in the chamber, coming in the building. The Democrats should put the blame where it stands, where it should be, and it does not, it does not have to do with the president who said go ‘peacefully’ to protest.'”