A survey of 315 Capitol Police officers found law enforcement "felt discouraged or hesitant to use force" during the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
In total,190 respondents expressed concerns or made suggestions related to information sharing, with one offering that "had any information on the morning of the 6th aside from 'prepare for a long day' they would have had a different mindset when the group approached."
More than half of the officers surveyed said that guidance and intelligence shared before and during the attack was "not at all clear" or "not provided," CBS News reports.
According to the report, approximately 150 officers recalled 293 use-of-force incidents, with open-hand pushing ranking as the most prominent technique employed (91 incidents), followed by batons (83 incidents) and drawing a firearm from its holster (37 incidents.) In 17 cases, officers reported pointing a firearm at an individual, though only one officer opened fire.
Roughly a quarter of those surveyed were "discouraged or hesitant to use force because of a fear of disciplinary actions." Several respondents noted they did not feel empowered to make decisions on use of force without approval by supervisors and conceded that "optics were affecting security decisions."
"I saw too many instances where officers were questioning whether they could use force because they were afraid of getting in trouble," noted one officer in the survey. "If ever there was a time when force is appropriate, a mob violently forcing their way into the Capitol would be it." Still, several respondents also said they felt that the department would not back them, "even when force was used under justifiable circumstances," according to the audit.