Chief Steven A. Sund testifies during the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee hearing on the U.S. Capitol Police FY2021 Budget Request, in the Capitol on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
U.S. Capitol Police Steven Sund is resigning amid criticism of the department’s response to rioters who stormed the Capitol in protest of President Donald Trump’s election loss.
Sund’s resignation will go into effect on Jan. 16, just a few days shy of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, a police spokeswoman said Thursday. The announcement comes shortly after the head of the department’s union called for a “change at the top.”
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Officers are “frustrated and demoralized” with how a lack of leadership undermined the response to the mob, according to a statement from Gus Papathanasiou, the union chairman. Papathanasiou laid the blame on a failure and planning while praising officers for their work.
“We prioritized lives over property, leading people to safety,” the statement said. “Not one Member of Congress or their staff was injured. Our officers did their jobs. Our leadership did not. Our Law Enforcement partners that assisted us were remarkable.”
The statement fell just short of calling for the force’s chief, Steven Sund, to resign. Sund commended officers earlier Thursday, calling their actions “heroic” and slammed the chaos that erupted as “criminal riotous behavior.”
Capitol police response has been criticized for its inability to keep the rioters out of the building. Biden earlier Thursday criticized what he described as a double standard between how police reacted to the pro-Trump mob versus how they treat supporters of Black Lives Matter over the summer.
“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently from the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” he said. “We all know that’s true. And it’s unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.”