Lawmakers Give Capitol Police Benefit of the Doubt in Shooting

A Capitol Police officer stands guard during the incident Oct. 4. A Capitol Police officer stands guard during the incident Oct. 4. Evan Vucci/AP

A week after police shot and killed a woman who was racing toward the Capitol after trying to breach a White House barricade, lawmakers have been largely silent on the incident pending the results of an investigation.

“I’m concerned when any person is shot, armed or unarmed, if it could be handled in some other way,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio. “But we need to see the report to determine if that’s the case. I am hopeful that the investigation will show the actions that were taken were necessary, but until such time, as it is, I’m going to err on the side of the Capitol Police having done the appropriate thing.”

Fudge isn’t alone. Connecticut lawmakers have likewise shown deference to the Capitol Police, even as the family members of the slain woman, Miriam Carey of Stamford, have been voicing skepticism that she was responsible for the shooting and asking whether police could have reacted differently.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., praised Capitol Police in a statement while also extending condolences to Carey’s family. “An investigation is certainly appropriate—as is ongoing—and I await its factual findings, along with oversight and scrutiny from other sources,” he said.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., whose district includes Stamford, likewise urged caution. “Obviously the death of Ms. Carey was a real tragedy,” he told The Hartford Courant. “I expect that a full investigation will be undertaken to out all the facts. Until that has been completed, people should reserve judgment.”

D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department is leading the investigation into the incident, with support from the U.S. Capitol Police, Secret Service, and FBI, according to police officials. The Capitol Police policy on the use of force is not public information.

The Capitol Police officer who had been hospitalized after the incident has been released, police said, and the officers involved in the event “are not in the field” pending the outcome of the investigation.

“I think that members are reluctant to second-guess people whose job it is to protect them, given the fact that there are a live threats that happen around here all the time,” said Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said he heard some informal questions among lawmakers in the days following the incident, “but now all eyes are focused on the shutdown.”

“I know now it’s a pretty dangerous thing for someone to be speeding from the White House to the U.S. Capitol at 80 miles per hour, running stoplights, and you don’t know if it’s a terrorist or a deranged individual or what,” Butterfield said. “The question most people are asking is why they didn’t shoot the tires out or resort to some other means of disabling the vehicle. But we’ve got to get the facts.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.