Capitol Police Left Firearms In Public Bathroom, According To Source, But Harry Reid Is Sticking Up For Them
The Capitol Police force is one to be reckoned with. Considering the number of high security locations surrounding Capitol Hill, the slew of government buildings, and the presence of high profile lawmakers and leaders, they sort of have to be. Unfortunately, on Friday, the Capitol Police came under fire when it was reported that three of its officers had allegedly left their government-issued firearms in restrooms open to the public while on duty. (Major oops.)
According to a report by non-partisan publication Roll Call on Friday, on March 24, a 7 or 8-year-old child had allegedly stumbled on the loaded Glock pistol in the bathroom suite of House Speaker John Boehner after a security detail had left it behind. Previously, on January 29, a Capitol Visitor Center worker claimed that they had discovered a police-issued Glock pistol shoved in the toilet seat-cover dispenser on the wall of a public stall. Records later indicated that the pistol had belonged to a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's security detail.
A supposed third incident on April 16 alleged that a "janitor cleaning the Capitol Police headquarters building on D Street NE" had found an abandoned Glock lying out in the open. According to the source who spoke with Roll Call, the incident triggered major concern over the safety of the center and its frequent visitors.
Frank Larkin, the chairman of the Capitol Police Board and Senate sergeant-at-arms, told CNN on Friday that all three embarrassing incidents were currently under investigation and were not being discussed at length with the media. The Capitol Police Office of Professional Responsibility told Roll Call that it had recommended the officer who had left their firearm in the bathroom of the Capitol Visitor Center be given "six days of suspension without pay", but also stated that the other two cases were still being looked into.
Already, several congressional critics have stepped forward, calling for increased accountability by the exhausted division, whose police chief, Kim Dine, has come under fire for various incidents recently, including the April 15 landing of a gyrocopter on the Capitol's West Lawn.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) called the incidents "a wake up call" in a statement on Friday, while several other congressional lawmakers released a statement which called the alleged misplacement "unacceptable". But at least one legislator is standing up for the uniformed Hill officers.
"The Capitol Police] have a job that is very, very difficult," said Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid in a news conference on Friday afternoon. "[Many of them] are doing a lot of other things to make this place safe, and I try not to be critical."
Requests for comment to U.S. Capitol Police spokespersons have not yet been returned.
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