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Former Lexington Police Chief reflects on security failures during deadly U.S. Capitol riot

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 17:47:51-05

(LEX 18) — Images of insurgents overrunning police at the U.S. Capitol shocked people around the nation and the world.

“It's a stain. It's a black moment not only for our country but particularly for law enforcement. Right from the onset, everybody could see in real-time that something was not right in how this was being handled,” said former Lexington Police Chief Anthany Beatty.

Beatty, who led a career in law enforcement spanning more than 30 years, told LEX 18 News he’s having a hard time understanding how security officials prepared when the pro-Trump rally was well-advertised leading up to Jan. 6.

He explained any time there is a large-scale event, intelligence is gathered to determine how security should be handled.

“It's one of those cases where we would always plan and replan and we plan for the worst, and we would hope that we do not have to use all the resources, but we would have them in place just in case. In an emerging contingency situation, we cannot wait to put those things together. So you pre-plan that pre-state, and be ready to go,” Beatty said.

Several members of Congress are pushing for an investigation into the security failures that resulted in hundreds of rioters violently seizing the Capitol on Wednesday.

“[Wednesday] represented a massive failure of institutions, protocols, and planning that are supposed to protect the first branch of our federal government. A painstaking investigation and thorough review must now take place and significant changes must follow,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement on Thursday. “The ultimate blame for yesterday lies with the unhinged criminals who broke down doors, trampled our nation’s flag, fought with law enforcement, and tried to disrupt our democracy, and with those who incited them. But this fact does not and will not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol’s security posture and protocols.”

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Stud resigned amid mounting criticism over police response to the violent mob that stormed Capitol Hill. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving also resigned.

Washington, D.C. has been ground zero for large demonstrations over the years, including March For Our Lives, Women’s March on Washington, and Black Lives Matter.

Due to the city’s track record for handling large-scale events, Beatty said there is no excuse for how underprepared security officials were to control the crowd.

“I hate to say it, but in most cases, there's not a whole lot of planning that they would have to do. Just tweak the plans that they have in place. That did not seem to happen. I can't put my finger on what was amiss here. But there was something that was just not right here at handling a crowd that size and allowing them to move as freely through our capital as it did,” he said.

But with countless questions up in the air in the aftermath of the Capitol siege, Beatty said one thing he can predict is the security breach will be studied closely when law enforcement prepare to revamp their own protocol in the future.