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Chief's Message

January 31, 2007
Press Release
United States Capitol Police Chief Phillip D. Morse, Sr
Public Information Office  
119 D Street, NE  
Washington, D.C. 20510 Immediate
(202) 224-1677 January 31, 2007

Today, Chief Phillip D. Morse, Sr. issued the following statement to the men and women of the United State Capitol Police regarding media coverage of the events that occurred at the Capitol on Saturday, January 27, 2007:

After reading several press accounts of the events surrounding the demonstration on January 27, 2007, I feel that it is important to set the record straight.  During the course of the peaceful anti-war demonstration that attracted tens of thousands of protesters who marched around the Capitol in an exercise of their First Amendment rights, we were confronted with a splinter group that was seeking a confrontation with the police.  Law enforcement agencies, including the USCP, are familiar with this group and we know their tactics. 

The intended goal of this splinter group was to breach into restricted areas, climb the steps, and rush the doors of the Capitol Building.  We were not going to let them achieve their goal.  In order to achieve our goal of protecting the Capitol without injury to officers, demonstrators, or innocent bystanders, I determined the best course of action was to stand firm in the face of provocation. Officers were continuously redeployed to points close to the Capitol to ensure unity of command and a strong, agile police presence.
Our officers did an outstanding job.  We held our lines; no one entered into secure areas; and no one climbed the steps of the Capitol or even got close to any of the doors or windows.  At the end of the day, the splinter group was only allowed to be in areas that are otherwise open to the public at anytime of the day or night.  Our efforts to protect the Capitol and ensure security were successful.

Some members of this group did covertly mark the pavement on the Lower West Terrace during their confrontation with us.  Had this been observed, I would have directed arrests to be made.  However, the size and continual movement of the crowd provided concealment and made detection of their actions impossible. Once the crowd dispersed, I was appalled and disgusted that any individual, whatever their cause, would deface the grounds of the Capitol.  Fortunately, due to the notable efforts of the staff of the Architect of the Capitol, their signs of disrespect were quickly washed away. 

Those are the facts.  It is my duty to make decisions during such events, quickly determine the best course of action, and give direction to our officers based on the totality of the circumstances. All decisions were mine as Chief of Police and I made them without consultation or influence by any Member of Congress, or Congressional Leadership.  I stand by the decisions I made and I take full responsibility for them. 

I am extremely proud of you for the discipline and professional manner in which you protected the Capitol Building.  Every Member of Congress I have briefed on the matter has expressed the same level of appreciation and admiration.

On Saturday, just like we do every day, we showed that we are Unflinching, Sincere, Courteous, and Principled.  By embracing our core values and standing together as a team, we will continue to be successful in our mission.

If there are any questions about these events or security procedures, you may contact the United States Capitol Police Public Information Office at 202-224-1677.

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  Prepared by:
  Sergeant Kimberly Schneider
  United States Capitol Police
  Public Information Officer