Former head of Buffalo’s FBI office weighs in on security at the U.S. Capitol

Erie County

(WIVB) — The former head of Buffalo’s FBI office says police guarding the nation’s Capitol should have been much better prepared to take on the insurrection.

The little resistance Capitol Police put up against the protesters alarmed Bernie Tolbert and many others in law enforcement.

A peaceful protest seemed to suddenly turn violent, rioters smashing through doors and windows, vandalizing the Nation’s Capitol. Tolbert said police should have been ready.

“Clearly there was a lack of planning, a lack of preparation. Someone was asleep at the switch.”

Bernie Tolbert, Former FBI Special Agent in Charge

Tolbert points out, the protesters had been gathering outside the Capitol before the riot, and they were armed, which should have drawn special attention.

He says “The Capitol Police are responsible for that building, it was overrun. They were easily outnumbered, so there was a failing there.”

The retired head of the Capitol Police said their top officials seemed to underestimate the potential threat.

“The cavalry should have been coming to get those people the hell off the steps and the platforms, but that would have been very, very ugly and difficult to do if you did not have superior force.”

Terry Gainer, Former Capitol Police Chief

Tolbert also questions whether race might have been a factor.

During Black Lives Matter protests during the summer, local police put up an overwhelming show of force, despite low expectations of violence.

People with guns stormed the Capitol.

“You saw during the summer, during the Black Lives Matter protests that they responded a lot more forcefully.”

Bernie Tolbert, Former FBI Special Agent in Charge

Yet, at the Capitol officers were even seen taking selfies with rioters.

“Why wasn’t there that same level of response? Why wasn’t there that same concern? You’re right, people had guns, and it is not like this was a surprise event. My understanding is they had a permit for the protest.”

Bernie Tolbert, Former FBI Special Agent in Charge

Now that the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House of Representatives has resigned, and his counterpart for the Senate could be on the way out, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, is calling on the Chief of the Capitol Police to step down.

Tolbert suspects it is for the better.


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