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Capitol Police union says nearly 140 officers were injured in Capitol breach

'The officers are angry, and I don't blame them,' said the head of the Capitol Police union

U.S. Capitol Jan. 6
U.S. Capitol Jan. 6
(Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Updated: January 28, 2021 - 7:52am

Nearly 140 police officers were injured during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, says the leader of the Capitol Police union.

Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, said Wednesday that officers from two departments sustained injuries including brain trauma and smashed spinal discs and one that one is likely to lose an eye. 

Papathanasiou placed blame on Capitol Police leadership for failing to properly equip officers ahead of the attack despite advance knowledge of a "strong potential for violence," in the words Yogananda Pittman, acting U.S. Capitol Police chief.

Papathanasiou spoke after Pittman, who has led the forces since Steven Sund resigned under pressure following the attack, made the acknowledgment Tuesday to a House committee. 

"We have one officer who lost his life as a direct result of the insurrection," Papathanasiou said. "Another officer has tragically taken his own life. Between U.S.C.P. and our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police Department, we have almost 140 officers injured. I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake."

Pittman also told the House committee  that on the day of the breach internal communications were poor and officers were under-equipped and outmanned, making it difficult for them to lock down the U.S. Capitol Building. 

"By January 4, the department knew that the Jan. 6 event would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020," she said. "We knew that militia groups and white supremacist organizations would be attending. We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target."