Morse Praises Cops’ Handling of Protest

Posted January 31, 2007 at 6:40pm

After concerns were raised both on Capitol Hill and in the press about the defacement of Congressional property by a group of protesters during an anti-war demonstration this past weekend, Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse told his officers Wednesday he was proud of how they handled the situation.

“Our officers did an outstanding job,” Morse said, according to a release from the department. “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 [who defaced Capitol property] 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.”

Morse acknowledged that the “splinter group” of protesters who tried to provoke a confrontation with police were able to deface Congressional property, but that they did so without being observed by officers and therefore no arrests were made.

Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), who met with Morse on Tuesday after saying he was “absolutely dismayed” by the incident, said after the meeting that he felt reassured that Capitol Police “did the best they could in a difficult situation.”

In a release Wednesday, Allard, the ranking member of the Appropriations subcommittee on the legislative branch, added that he expects “that we will … use this as an opportunity to improve on crowd control measures in the future. I was pleased that Chief Morse intends to place a renewed emphasis on planning, staffing, and preparation for future demonstrations.”

— John McArdle