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Capitol Police Chief To Resign

January 8, 2021 by Dan McCue
Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testifies before the Committee on House Administration on July 16, 2019.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said Thursday evening that he will resign later this month after a riotous mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol and caused havoc once inside.

Word of Sund’s resignation coincided with reports of the death of a Capitol Police officer gravely injured in the riot. Though the department initially sent out a release saying reports of the officer’s death were wrong, it confirmed his passing two hours later.

Sund submitted his resignation letter just hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for him to step down during her weekly briefing with reporters.

“He hasn’t even called us since this happened,” Pelosi complained.

The head of the Capitol Police officers’ union also had called for Sund to step down.

Gus Papathanasiou, chair of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, said in a statement Thursday that a lack of planning led to officers exposed to violent protesters storming the Capitol.

He also said officers lacked the backup and equipment needed to control rioters and said that Sund must be replaced to prevent similar incidents in the future.

In his resignation letter, Sund, who took the job only seven months ago, said “It has been a pleasure and true honor to serve the United States Capitol Police Board and the Congressional community alongside the men and women of the United States Capitol Police.”

Sund’s resignation is effective Jan. 16. He said he will transition into a “sick leave status” starting Jan. 17, and remain on it until he uses up his available sick leave, roughly 440 hours.

He previously served with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington for more than 25 years.

As Capitol Police chief, he oversaw more than 2,300 officers and civilian employees responsible for protecting Congress and the building itself.

But the destruction on Wednesday, when a mob incited by Trump stormed into the Capitol, prompted many members of Congress to question why the police had not been more prepared.

Many also questioned why many of those who had broken into the building had been allowed to leave without being arrested.

The Capitol Police later called the violence “criminal riotous behavior,” and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the events “domestic terrorism.”

With the cleanup continuing, D.C. police on Thursday posted the pictures of people of interest in Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, hoping the public can help identify them.

More than 90 people have been arrested so far, with more arrests likely.

Also on Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he had requested and received the resignation of Michael Stenger, the Senate sergeant at arms and doorkeeper, effective immediately.

“Deputy Sergeant at Arms Jennifer Hemingway will now serve the Senate as acting sergeant at arms, pursuant to statute,” McConnell said. “I thank Jennifer in advance for her service as we begin to examine the serious failures that transpired yesterday and continue and strengthen our preparations for a safe and successful inauguration on January 20.”

Pelosi announced Thursday morning that the House sergeant at arms, Paul Irving, had tendered his resignation. 

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