Capitol Police Failed to Monitor Cameras Outside Pelosis’ Home During Attack on Paul

Right-wing political violence is on the rise, and law enforcement does not seem prepared to respond to it.

Capitol Police Failed to Monitor Cameras Outside Pelosis’ Home During Attack on Paul
Photo:The Washington Post (Getty Images)

New reports about the attack on Paul Pelosi last week are more alarming than any conspiracy theory: On Wednesday morning, the Washington Post reported that U.S. Capitol Police had cameras installed outside the Pelosis’ San Francisco home that recorded footage of the attack—but no police officers were monitoring the camera feeds at the time of the attack.

As Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is third in line to the presidency. Current and former law enforcement sources told the Post that if Capitol Police had “the best chance” to protect any member of Congress from a break-in or violent attack, it would be Pelosi. The newspaper also made the chilling observation that the attack, and law enforcement’s failure to stop it, “put a spotlight on the immensity—and perhaps the impossibility—of law enforcement’s task to protect the 535 members of Congress at a time of unprecedented numbers of threats against them.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Capitol Police said in a statement that the department is on track to hire about 300 additional officers this year. The country’s “political climate” is going to necessitate “additional layers of physical security,” the agency said. It’s not entirely clear what 300 additional police officers neglecting to monitor cameras placed outside political leaders’ homes will do to keep anyone safe.

On the same day that Paul Pelosi was attacked, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Capitol Police issued a joint report warning of an increased risk of terror attacks leading up to the midterm elections on Nov. 8, primarily “by lone offenders who leverage election-related issues to justify violence.” They identified candidates running for office, elected officials, election workers, political rallies, and people of color and religious minorities as potential targets of this violence.

“Following the 2022 midterm election, perceptions of election-related fraud and dissatisfaction with electoral outcomes likely will result in heightened threats of violence against a broad range of targets―such as ideological opponents and election workers,” the agencies wrote.

The man who attacked Pelosi, David Depape, has already confessed to the FBI that the attack was politically motivated, and he sought to kidnap the speaker because she was “the leader of the pack,” referring to Democrats. His social media feeds are awash with QAnon and Trumpian election conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, and racist rants against George Floyd.

The attack on the Pelosis’ home is emblematic of the rising tide of political violence that we’re being warned about. In recent weeks, someone burglarized the headquarters of Arizona’s Democratic candidate for governor, Katie Hobbs, as she continues to face death threats and harassment for certifying Arizona’s 2020 presidential vote as secretary of state. Vice reported that on Monday, the home of Richard Ringer, a Democratic candidate for state house in Pennsylvania, was broken into and that Ring was knocked out by his attacker.

It was widely predicted that 2020 election lies would yield violence, and that violence has persisted long past the Jan. 6 insurrection in 2021. Now, as political violence surges, it seems our leaders’ only plans are to invest further in the same police who couldn’t even be bothered to monitor cameras outside the Pelosis’ home.

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