The chief of the Capitol Police said he tried 6 times to call reinforcements to deal with pro-Trump rioters but kept getting blocked

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capitol seige
Capitol Police officers seen as rioters tried to break into the House chamber of the US Capitol on Wednesday. J. Scott Applewhite
  • The departing Capitol Police chief says he called for backup six times before and during Wednesday's attack at the US Capitol but was kept waiting.

  • Chief Steven Sund told The Washington Post he asked the Senate and House sergeants at arms multiple times for permission to request National Guard support.

  • Sund said that he asked the US military for help after the violence started but that Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, the director of the US Army Staff, said he could not recommend sending in the Guard. Piatt, however, says he did not recommendation against this and was only saying he didn't have the authority to deploy the additional Guardsmen, an approval process that took 40 more minutes during the siege.

  • The Guard deployed shortly after 3 p.m. and arrived on the scene around 5:40 p.m., after the violence had mostly ceased.

  • Sund told The Post: "If we would have had the National Guard we could have held them at bay longer."

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The departing Capitol Police chief said he tried six times to summon reinforcements before and during Wednesday's attack by supporters of President Donald Trump but was blocked from doing so by his superiors.

Speaking with The Washington Post on Sunday, Chief Steven Sund said he worried that the protest would turn violent but was unable to get help until the violence was at its peak.

"We knew we would have large crowds, the potential for some violent altercations," he said.

Four civilians and a Capitol Police officer died as a result of Wednesday's attack, which plunged Washington into chaos and prompted calls for President Donald Trump to be impeached for his role inciting the violence.

Read more: Secret Service experts are speculating in group chats about how Trump might be hauled out of the White House if he won't budge on Inauguration Day

From 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, as Trump supporters gathered at the perimeter of the Capitol, Sund made a string of requests for backup, he told The Post.

Here are some of the calls he described. Only the first brought immediate help:

  • At about 1 p.m. Sund called Robert J. Contee, the chief of police for Washington, DC, and 100 officers were deployed.

  • At 1:09 p.m. Sund called House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger to get permission to deploy the National Guard. He said that the pair told him they would "run it up the chain," but he didn't hear back.

  • After that Sund called Irving twice more for a follow-up.

  • After that Sund called Stenger once more for a follow-up.

  • At 2:10 p.m. Sund got approval from Irving to call for National Guard support.

  • At 2:26 p.m. Sund joined a call with Pentagon officials and asked them to deploy the National Guard. Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, the director of the Army Staff, is said to have told those on the call that he could not recommend calling in the Guard.

Sund recalled saying on the conference call with Piatt and others: "I am making an urgent, urgent immediate request for National Guard assistance. I have got to get boots on the ground." 

Sund said Piatt responded: "I don't like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background."

During the call, Sund repeated several times that the situation was "dire," John Falcicchio, the chief of staff to Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, told The Post.

In a statement to Insider Monday afternoon, Piatt denied blocking Sund's request, saying: "I did not make the statement or any comments similar to what was attributed to me by Chief Sund in the Washington Post article."

"Neither I, nor anyone else from DoD, denied the deployment of requested personnel," he added, stressing that while he was leading the call, during which he told participants that he was not the approval authority, the secretary of the Army was talking to the acting defense secretary to get approval.

Piatt said that approval to deploy the National Guard came through roughly 40 minutes after that call started.

Capitol protests
Supporters of US President Donald Trump entering the US Capitol on Wednesday. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Jonathan Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Capitol Police did not request help until after the pro-Trump protest had turned violent.

"We rely on Capitol Police and federal law enforcement to provide an assessment of the situation, and based on that assessment that they had, they believed they had sufficient personnel and did not make a request," he said last week, per The Post.

The National Guard was eventually deployed by Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary, shortly after 3 p.m., according to a Department of Defense timeline.

Those troops, however, didn't arrive at the Capitol until 5:40 p.m., long after most of the violence had ceased, The Post said.

The Post said Sund described warning of the threat of violence days before.

According to The Post, Sund said he asked House and Senate security officials two days before the attack whether he could request that the National Guard be placed on standby. He said he was denied.

Irving, the House sergeant at arms, told Sund he didn't like the "optics" of essentially broadcasting that authorities were expecting an emergency, Sund said.

Capitol protest
Trump supporters entered the US Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

"If we would have had the National Guard, we could have held them at bay longer, until more officers from our partner agencies could arrive," he told The Post.

Sund announced his resignation on Thursday after widespread criticism of the official response to the attack. His last day is set to be Saturday. Irving and Stenger have also resigned.

Update: This post has been updated to include Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt's response to outgoing Capitol Police chief Steven Sund's assertions that he hindered efforts to bring in the National Guard as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol last Wednesday.

Read the original article on Business Insider