A nation asks, ‘Where were the U.S. Capitol Police?’

A nation asks, ‘Where were the U.S. Capitol Police?’

The previously unimaginable scenes of rioters cavorting about the House and Senate chambers, and even the speaker’s office, at the U.S. Capitol have raised one major question: Where were the U.S. Capitol Police?

Answers to the question were few and far between. But there were clues to be gleaned from social media.

One potentially illuminating video taken from the steps of the Capitol facing the National Mall showed a mass of protesters pressing a thin police line. Then a loud pop is heard. A social-media post indicated that the protesters had used a chemical irritant to break through police lines.

The large crowd had walked down the Mall after listening to President Donald Trump speak outside the White House.

Ari Natter, a reporter for Bloomberg who was an eyewitness to the events on the west side of the Capitol, said it was “bedlam,” with “a huge mob, thousands of people pressing against the police barricade.”

There were violent skirmishes with members of the mob using flagpoles to assault outnumbered police, who countered with batons, he said. Both sides seemed to use mace, he said. “Eventually the police had to retreat, and that is how people got in,” Natter said, in an interview on Bloomberg Radio.

“It was kind of amazing to me,” he said. “The police did seem unprepared.”

Another video from Joshua Potash appeared to show police giving up on a barricade, with rioters rushing in through a widening aperture.

Inside the Capitol, officers were apparently caught flat-footed. There is a lengthy video of a lone policeman attempting, unsuccessfully, to stem the tide of protesters. He told by the intruders, “This is our America.”

By the time the officer had retreated to where he could find allies, the mob was flowing freely through the building.

In the chaos, one unidentified woman, said to be a protester, was shot and killed, according to several reports, quoting law-enforcement officials.

As night fell, police secured the perimeter of the Capitol, and the House sergeant-at-arms said the building was secure.

See: Congress looks to resume confirmation of Biden’s victory after protesters storm Capitol

Buses of National Guardsmen were later seen arriving in front of the Capitol as a 6 p.m. curfew in the city was coming into effect.

Several lawmakers vowed to continue with the congressional certification of Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Former Democratic senator Claire McCaskill said in an MSNBC appearance that lawmakers from both parties with whom she’d spoken expected to return to the task Wednesday evening with the hope of completing it by morning.

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