The chief of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police said he was left “stunned” and “surprised” by the initial reluctance to send the National Guard to quell the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Acting Chief Robert Contee made his remarks on Tuesday in testimony before the Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees. His comments were detailed by The Hill.
Contee said he was part of an emergency phone call at 2:22 p.m. on Jan. 6 which included leaders of the National Guard, the Capitol Police and the Department of the Army. The call came more than an hour after members of his department were sent to the Capitol.
“I was surprised at the reluctance to immediately send the National Guard to the Capitol grounds,” Contee told senators.
According to The Hill, nearly an hour passed before the Pentagon approved deployment of more Guard troops.
Contee also noted that at 2:30 p.m., within minutes of the emergency call with the Pentagon, his office had asked for help from police departments as far away as New Jersey.
“From that point, it took another 3 1/2 hours until all rioters were removed from the Capitol,” Contee said.
Five people died in the wake of the violence, including a Capitol Police officer and a woman who was shot by police as she tried to break through the doors of the House chamber with lawmakers still inside.