LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bill Bratton said Thursday that he was stunned by the failure he witnessed on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
"It was an abysmal failure in every way, shape and form," he said. "You would have had to have been deaf, dumb and blind not to understand that that rally in the back of the White House was going to go up to the Capitol."
When asked why he was so blunt in the wording he chose, Bratton said it was necessary.
"You can't sugar-coat what happened when your form of government is under assault by mobs, who are instigated by the president of the United States," he said.
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who now runs a consulting firm, said there were "certainly a lot of questions."
Both he and Bratton said they did see a number of officers trying their best with the violent mob that vandalized and attacked officers with chemical agents, but they said they were troubled by images of one officer appearing to take a selfie with a rioter and a handful that appeared to have withdrawn from their line.
"There is a concern that some personnel may not have fulfilled their obligation," Bratton said.
There was also criticism that officers appeared to be outnumbered and not properly equipped to handle the mob, despite the fact that McDonnell and Bratton said there was no shortage of intelligence on the rally.
"I normally don't speak ill of my fellow leadership in policing, but I think there's been universal concern expressed about the leadership, lack of it that was exhibited yesterday," Bratton said.
Though McDonnell said it was hard to know if the failure to secure the Capitol was due to poor management.
"Were they appropriately resourced, did they have enough officers available to them to be able to do skirmish lines, to be able to do mass arrests," he said.
But Bratton said there should have been no question about the police force's capacity to handle the mob.
"They have a huge police force — 2,300 officers," he said. "We have 9,000 officers in L.A. to protect 480-square-miles. They have 2,300 to protect 1-square-mile, and yesterday, where were they all?"
Both Bratton and McDonnel said a commission in the style of the 9/11 commission may have to be set up in the coming days to get some of those answers.
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