Democrat members of Congress have questioned whether police officers aided the invasion of the Capitol Building as they demanded access to all police communications during the riots.

A number of Democrats have raised the possibility that the pro-Trump mob that broke into the Capitol building on Wednesday could have had outside assistance as they questioned how swiftly rioters were able to identify and target individual lawmakers’ offices in the labyrinthine building.

 

It came after footage of the riots showed some officers making no attempt to stop the flood of people entering the building while at least one officer posed for a picture with the rioters.

One of the rioters claimed in an interview with the New York Times that a Capitol Police officer had actually directed him to the office of Chuck Schumer, the Democrat leader in the Senate. The office of Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Speaker, was also targeted.  

Tim Ryan, who chairs the House committee that oversees funding for the Capitol Police, said he will investigate whether any officers assisted the rioters.

Why was a fascist, white supremacist mob able to overwhelm Capitol Police?

Do ties exist between the white supremacists who launched that attack and members of the police force?

We need answers. https://t.co/edF5it7dvf

— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) January 8, 2021

Mr Ryan said he had asked the outgoing Capitol Police chief Steven Sund to hand over all emails and texts that occurred during the riot to help the committee’s investigation into whether there was "some level of support on the inside".

Mr Ryan said that while some officers had fought "their hearts out" to prevent the mob, others were "letting people in and moving those silver barriers that were there. And then you had others taking selfies with these terrorists".

Congressman Jamaal Bowman went a step further, suggesting there may be some ties between Capitol Police officers and white supremacist groups.

The New York congressman is drafting legislation calling for an investigation into whether white supremacists had "infiltrated" the Capitol Police.

"It’s not a coincidence that protestors against police brutality get brutalized and criminalized while white supremacists storming the Capitol essentially got escorted in and out," he tweeted.

Why was a fascist, white supremacist mob able to overwhelm Capitol Police?

Do ties exist between the white supremacists who launched that attack and members of the police force?

We need answers. https://t.co/edF5it7dvf

— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) January 8, 2021

Other Democrats privately raised specific concerns over policing decisions during a lengthy call with their colleagues on Friday.  

One Democrat congressman, Steven Horsford, told his colleagues he believed the riots were “an inside job”. California congresswoman Linda Sanchez also voiced concerns over potential collusion between the rioters and some Capitol Police officers, according to Politico.

Congressman Jim Clyburn, the most senior African American in the House, questioned how the rioters had located his unmarked office in the building.

Mr Clyburn’s support of Joe Biden was crucial to helping the 78-year-old secure the Democratic presidential nomination last year.

 A pro-Trump protester is tended to by a police officer

Credit: Jon Cherry /Getty 

Other lawmakers have publicly questioned whether racial bias impacted the treatment of the rioters, who were predominantly white, and drew comparisons with law enforcement officers’  tough crackdowns on Black Lives Matter protesters last year.

“If the ‘protesters’ were Black they would have been shot with rubber bullets, tear gassed, and killed,”said congresswoman Bennie Thompson.

“Police do not take white, right-wing protesters as seriously and they don’t treat them as a threat in the way they treat African Americans, Latinos and other groups,” Joaquin Castro, a Hispanic congressman, told Politico. “And I think we saw the consequence of that this week.”