Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund stepped down from his post on Friday, days earlier than he said would following a deadly breach of the Capitol complex by a mob supporting President Trump.
Sund announced his resignation, effective Jan. 16, on Thursday, hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly called on him to step down over the department’s handling of the insurrection at the Capitol. But the Capitol Police website has been updated to say that Assistant Chief Yogananda D. Pittman took control of the agency on Friday.
During the melee, Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick, a 12-year veteran, was injured while physically engaging the riotous mob. He died Thursday night. One of the people who breached the Capitol, Ashli Babbitt, was shot by a Capitol Police officer during the confrontation; three others died of medical emergencies, officials have said.
On Sunday, Capitol Police announced the death of another officer, Howard Liebengood, 51, who was off-duty when he died. Police did not release a cause or date of death of Liebengood, who had been with the department since April 2005.
But Liebengood was at the Capitol on Wednesday, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. His death was a suicide, these officials said.
Sund and his deputies did not request significant help from other law enforcement agencies in advance of the siege, which unfolded at the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers attempted to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Nor did the department have enough of its own officers and fortifications — or a backup plan in place — to keep the mob out of the building.
When Sund resigned, he wrote a memo to members of the Capitol Police Board, which was reported by multiple news outlets as saying, in part: “I am respectfully submitting my letter of resignation, effective Sunday, January 16, 2021.”
The Capitol Police did not respond to a question from The Washington Post about why Sund left his position early.
Pittman has worked for the Capitol Police since 2001, initially providing security for senators and dignitaries, the agency’s website says. In 2006, she was promoted to sergeant, working in the communications division; she later she became a lieutenant and worked in the House division.
In 2012, Pittman was one of the first Black female supervisors to become a captain, according to the agency’s website. In that position, she led her unit in providing security for the 2013 presidential inauguration. In 2018, she was promoted to deputy chief. (The Washington Post)