Arnold Ahlert / July 12, 2021

Politicizing the Capitol Police

A police force answerable to no one but Congress is getting the go-ahead to expand its operations beyond the Capitol.

A curious thing happened last week. After a bloody 4th of July weekend during which 104 people were shot and 19 were killed, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked President Joe Biden to send federal troops to her city. This is the same Lori Lightfoot who rejected Trump’s offer of same, and the one who apparently dismisses the idea that Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker, a fellow Democrat, could send the National Guard to her aid. In short, Lightfoot appears to be advocating for the nationalization of local law enforcement. She’s not alone. Last Tuesday the Capitol Police (USCP) announced it would be opening field offices in California and Florida to investigate threats against members of Congress, using the riot that took place on January 6 as a rationale for doing so.

“It has been six months since rioters attacked the United States Capitol and our brave police officers and law enforcement partners who fought valiantly to protect elected leaders and the democratic process,” Acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement.

Make that some officers. As too few American are aware, videos taken by people at the Capitol show some USCP officers ushering protesters toward the building and others allowing them to enter.

Moreover, the media’s ongoing insistence that the Capitol riots were an “armed insurrection” worse than 9/11 and/or Pearl Harbor is rather selective. When Democrat protesters occupied the Hart Senate Office Building, or when Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer led a mob on the steps of the Supreme Court while a case was being heard and warned Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh they “have released the whirlwind” and “will pay the price,” no such comparisons were made. And in stark contrast, no investigations remotely resembling the intensity of the one currently conducted by the DOJ were undertaken. As for media assertions about a “deadly” riot, the only person killed by a firearm was an unarmed protester, U.S. Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt.

Who killed Ms. Babbitt? Remarkably, the very same Democrats and their media allies who have spent more than a year demonizing police remain utterly sanguine about the USCP’s refusal to name the officer involved — and wholly satisfied with the clandestine investigation that exonerated him.

Investigative reporter Paul Sperry explains the most troubling aspect of expanding the scope of the USCP’s enforcement capabilities. “Most police departments — including Washington, D.C.‘s Metropolitan Police — are required to release an officer’s name within days of a fatal shooting,” he writes. “Not the U.S. Capitol Police, which is controlled by Congress and answers only to Congress. It can keep the public in the dark about the identity and investigation of an officer involved in a shooting indefinitely.”

Nonetheless, the USCP’s field offices in California and Florida are only the beginning, as the plan involves opening “several additional regional offices” as well.

Columnist Nick Arama sounds the alarm. “So basically there’s going to be a police force, controlled by the Democrats, without any ability to demand transparency from it that’s going to investigate 'threats’ to members of Congress and provide ‘security’ for them,” he writes. “Who will be determining what a ‘threat’ is and who do you think they will be investigating with this? Three guesses. It wouldn’t be BLM or Antifa which has presented a continuing threat to governmental entities. It’s basically going to be investigating people they think are ‘extremists’ (translation: right-wing in their minds). Does anyone else see a potential problem here?”

Very much so, especially when the USCP and the U.S. Department of Justice remain adamantly against releasing all of the more than 14,000 hours of footage captured by video between noon and 8 p.m. on January 6. Tellingly, Capitol Police did produce selective clips of that video for Democrat House impeachment managers to use in the trial against Donald Trump, but they insist that releasing all of the tapes to either defense attorneys or the American public would precipitate further violence.

“The Department has significant concerns with the release of any of its footage to defendants in the Capitol attack cases unless there are safeguards in place to prevent its copying and dissemination,” Thomas DiBiase, the Capitol Police Department’s general counsel, wrote on March 17. “Our concern is that providing unfettered access to hours of extremely sensitive information to defendants who already have shown a desire to interfere with the democratic process will … [be] passed on to those who might wish to attack the Capitol again.”

USCP’s desire to protect Congress from those who “interfere with the democratic process” rings exceedingly hollow. As Sperry points out, the USCP had more than 700 complaints lodged against its officers between 2017 and 2019, “but brass won’t say what the alleged violations were or how the department resolved them. They also won’t disclose how many complaints are in any individual officer’s file.”

Moreover, unlike other police forces around the nation, the USCP is not required to disclose records on police misconduct. And in stark contrast to other government agencies, the force’s inspector general is also not required to make his reports public.

Senator Tom Cotton isn’t buying it. After expressing his “deepest admiration and gratitude for the frontline Capitol police officers, who keep us safe every single day,” he focused on the real issue. “The Capitol Police need to be focused on our Capitol,” he added. “I think Nancy Pelosi needs to explain why these offices should be opened up.”

Cotton’s statement also rings hollow, as the same Democrats and Republicans who have called for overhauling law enforcement practices following the police killing of George Floyd — practices that would include the creation of a national DOJ-maintained police misconduct registry that would be made public, and require state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data divided by race, sex, disability, religion, and age — remain mute about holding the USPC to any similar standard.

Jonathan M. Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, expressed his concern. “They operate not only on the Capitol grounds but they have a cooperation agreement with the city that permits them to make arrests off the Capitol grounds,” Smith said. “For them to be an agency operating in the District without the same kind of transparency that the District government has is really not a good thing, and Congress should address it and fix it.”

And when they operate far beyond the boundaries of the district? Every sentient American knows state and local law enforcement officers are fully capable of protecting their congressional representatives.

Thus, this is all about an unconscionable expansion of federal power. After four years of Democrats and their media allies routinely warning us Donald Trump was a constitutional threat to the republic, a police force answerable to no one but Congress, even if it kills someone, is getting the go-ahead to expand its operations — nationwide.

The GOP? Evil prospers when cowards stay silent. With apologies to Shakespeare, here’s your choice, Republicans:

To be — or KGB.

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