Five people died as a direct result of the rebellious melee at the Capitol earlier this month, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after the riot from injuries sustained while “physically engaging” with rioters.
“We honor the service and sacrifices of Officers Brian Sicknick, Howard Liebengood and Jeffery Smith, and offer condolences to all the grieving families,” Contee said Tuesday.
According to his testimony, 65 MPD members sustained injuries documented in reports, but many more “did not even bother to report” additional injuries from assaults that included scratches, bruises and burning eyes from bear mace.
Contee recounted how officers, both MPD and Capitol, spent at least seven hours battling the riots and attempting to protect both houses of Congress on Jan. 6. While the police forces went into action, Contee said the Department of the Army sought to discuss next steps in the midst of the madness.
“I was stunned at the tepid response from Department of the Army, which was reluctant to send the D.C. National Guard to the Capitol,” Contee told members of Congress on Tuesday.
“While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted. I was able to quickly deploy my force and issue directives to them while they were in the field, and I was honestly shocked that the National Guard could not — or would not — do the same.”
Contee, who also testified that his department spent nearly $8.8 million during the week of the insurrection, said the efforts to handle the mobs on that day were affected by how the Army responded.
“The Army staff responded that they were not refusing to send them but wanted to know the plan and did not like the optics of boots on the ground at the Capitol,” he testified, according to Fox News.