Capitol police officers were ordered to not use most aggressive crowd-control tactics against January 6 mob, watchdog report reveals

capitol police
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.
  • Capitol police were told not to use powerful crowd-control tactics during the January 6 riots.
  • "Heavier, less-lethal weapons were not used that day because of orders from leadership," a watchdog report revealed.
  • The order was given despite an intel report detailing potential violence at the Capitol.
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Despite being tipped off of the January 6 riots, Capitol police officers were ordered not to use their most aggressive crowd-control tactics - like stun grenades - on the mob, a scathing new watchdog report revealed Tuesday.

"Heavier, less-lethal weapons were not used that day because of orders from leadership," inspector general Michael Bolton wrote in a 104-page report reviewed by The New York Times. CNN first reported about the watchdog report on Thursday, revealing more failures on the part of law enforcement in the January 6 siege.

According to The Times report, Bolton found that the agency failed to properly prepare for and respond to the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6, despite potential violence in which "Congress itself is the target."

He wrote that leaders ordered officers in their Civil Disturbance Unit, which handles the policing of large gatherings of protestors, not to use powerful crowd-control equipment and tactics to disperse the rioters. On-duty officials from the day of the riots told Bolton that the tools could have helped "push back the rioters."

An intelligence assessment by the Capitol police flagged potential violence from pro-Trump supporters three days before the insurrection.

"Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th," the threat assessment said, citing the watchdog report.

"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," the assessment continued.

But on January 5, the Capitol police wrote a threat assessment with regards to the planned protests the next day, noting that there were "no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress," Bolton wrote in the report.

The watchdog report, titled "Review of the Events Surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Takeover of the U.S. Capitol," will be reviewed during a congressional hearing on Thursday, The Times reported.

Five people died following the Capitol riots, including two Capitol police officers.

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