One local law enforcement leader called the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday criminal as another said he was shocked by what he and the rest of the world saw.
Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy Carter and Woodstock Police Chief Eric Reiley responded to questions from The Northern Virginia Daily about the Capitol siege.
Public information officers with the Front Royal Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Strasburg and Mount Jackson police departments did not return a request for comment.
“That’s not a protest, that’s criminal conduct,” Carter said during a phone interview Friday.
“I think people should have the right to demonstrate and file their grievances against the government, certainly…” Carter added. "But I also think that people should have the right to be able to do their job and be safe at work and not have to worry about their life being taken.”
According to news reports, one U.S. Capitol Police officer died from injuries during the riot and another officer died afterward, though the Associated Press reports it is not clear whether his death was connected to the riot. Four other people died, including a woman among the protesters who was shot.
Deaths from the incident, as well as the property destruction, are examples of criminal conduct, Carter said.
Reiley responded to questions by email on Friday.
“Our country is founded on the rule of law and our Constitution establishes the framework for how we maintain it,” he stated. “The actions of those who breached the Capitol violated not only this rule of law, but the principles upon which our country exists.
“There was nothing peaceful about a mob of angry individuals threatening and intimidating our elected officials as they carried out their constitutional responsibilities and I believe anyone involved should be prosecuted,” he wrote.
The Associated Press reported Monday that the protesters "pinned a bloodied police officer in a doorway" and "body-slammed a third over a railing into the crowd." Other reports showed the breaking of windows at the Capitol and the ransacking of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.
More than 50 Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers were injured, with several Capitol Police officers hospitalized with serious injuries, according to a Capitol Police news release.
The Associated Press reports that by Saturday, prosecutors had filed 17 cases in federal district court and 40 others in the District of Columbia Superior Court for a variety of offenses ranging from assaulting police officers to entering restricted areas of the U.S. Capitol, stealing federal property and threatening lawmakers.
Reports also showed the U.S. Capitol Police force outnumbered by the protesters.
While also investigating and holding accountable the perpetrators of the demonstration, Carter said there should be an investigation into the Capitol Police's plan for the event.
“...there should be a pre-plan for that facility. There should be protocols in place to protect that facility, the people inside and the business being conducted. Did that work...” Carter said. “I don't know the answer to that. But that agency head who's responsible should have it investigated and reviewed, and then they should be held accountable.”
Reiley said, “It would have been reasonable to expect the U.S. Capitol Police to have utilized the ICS Unified Command structure for oversight of the operation.”
An ICS Unified Command structure, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is a “standardized on-scene emergency management construct specifically designed to provide an integrated organizational structure that reflects the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.