ACLU-DC Calls for Independent Investigation into Failures of Law Enforcement During Attempted Coup

Results of Investigation Must Be Released Prior to Acting Chief Robert Contee’s Confirmation

January 8, 2021 4:30 pm

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WASHINGTON – Today the ACLU of the District of Columbia called for an independent investigation into the lapses of leadership and planning that led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and demands that the results of that investigation be released to the public prior to the confirmation of Metropolitan Police Department Acting Chief Robert Contee.

The following can be attributed to Monica Hopkins, Executive Director, ACLU-DC:

“District residents deserve nothing less than a full and fair accounting of how such lapses of District and MPD leadership occurred this week, putting the lives of those who live and work here at severe risk. We all watched in horror as a violent mob of white supremacist extremists bent on subverting the results of a free and fair election desecrated one of this country’s most sacred institutions. This escalation will only embolden this racist mob to return to the District to sow more chaos in the days leading up to Inauguration in two weeks.

“There is no excuse for the disgusting failure at all levels of government to prepare the District for this extremist onslaught. This is the third time violent, racist Trump supporters have descended on the District and caused chaos. Local activists such as Black Lives Matter D.C. explicitly warned D.C. officials of the impending threats to our institutions. For Mayor Muriel Bowser and Acting Chief Contee to say they were unaware of specific threats to the Capitol building is offensive to the residents who have been preparing for the worst for weeks.

“MPD leadership constantly touts its experience in dealing with large-scale events like Wednesday’s. We expect in the coming days to see a lot of finger-pointing and deflection of blame for the failures of leadership and law enforcement, and assertions that more funding for MPD is needed to prevent this type of insurrection from happening again. Do not be distracted by this excuse. No amount of money will change the fact that a complete failure of planning and leadership allowed the chaos of that day to occur. We need smarter policing, not more police.

“For decades, District residents have lived as second-class citizens in their own country, having been denied congressional representation and full control of local government. Through their actions this week, District and law enforcement leaders have shown us whose lives really matter, and it’s not the ones proclaimed in giant yellow letters in front of the White House.

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