The leadership of the troubled, 1,800 person Capitol Police force is withholding information about the circumstances surrounding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) gruesome New Year’s Day injuries.
Breitbart News poked holes in Reid’s story that the injuries resulted from a home exercise accident that occurred when the exercise band that he attached to the shower door in his bathroom “broke and spun me around and I crashed into these cabinets and injured my eye,” as he claimed.
Breitbart News has also reported that virtually all of the information concerning the events surrounding the New Year’s Day injury and Reid’s subsequent hospital treatment that day has originated from Reid’s office. It insists the senator’s Capitol Police security detail was with him at his Henderson, Nevada home when the injuries occurred on New Year’s Day and transported him from his home to St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson for treatment.
Breitbart News has repeatedly asked the Capitol Police to verify this claim, and to provide a copy of the incident report filed by the security detail describing the events of that day. Breitbart News has also requested the Capitol Hill Police specifically detail the date and time of day the incident took place in Reid’s home, and the date and time of day Reid’s security detail transported him from his home to St. Rose Dominican Hospital.
Despite sending numerous phone and email requests for this information to the Capitol Police over the last several days, no such information has been provided.
On Friday, Breitbart News spoke on the phone with Capitol Police Public Information Officer Kim Schneider, who promised to provide that information to us shortly.
As of Monday, we have received no further response and have been provided with none of the requested information.
Lacking the public release of this information from the Capitol Police, several critical questions about the circumstances surrounding Reid’s injuries will remain unanswered:
1. If it was an accident, what are the details of that accident?
2. If it was not an accident, was it an assault?
3. If the possibility of assault on a member of Congress, a federal crime, has not been ruled out, why is the FBI, which has jurisdiction over such matters, not currently investigating?
4. If it is a possible assault and the Capitol Police have not reported it as such to the FBI, would such a failure to report constitute obstruction of justice?
Reid’s office has been able to assert Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy rule claims to prevent both hospitals that he says treated him on New Year’s Day–St. Rose Dominican in Henderson and UMC in Las Vegas–from releasing any information about the time of day he was admitted at each institution. St. Rose Dominican has released a statement saying Reid was treated and released, but offers neither a date or time of day. UMC won’t even go that far. Citing HIPAA, it refuse to even confirm Reid was treated.
The Capitol Police, however, are not subject to the HIPAA privacy rule, and their release of all the information related to Reid’s injuries is in the public interest.
At present, they appear to be stonewalling at best.
Failure to fully disclose its activities is nothing new to the Capitol Police and Chief Kim Dine.
In fact, the Capitol Board, the three person body that is the governing authority established by Congress to supervise the Capitol Police, has become increasingly frustrated with how Chief Dine has operated the Capitol Police.
In January, the board–Sergeant at Arms of the Senate Frank J. Larkin, Sergeant at Arms of the House Paul D. Irving, and Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayres, held a testy supervisory meeting with Dine and Deputy Chief Daniel B. Malloy, in which they expressed dissatisfaction with Dine’s lack of disclosure regarding several recent high profile incidents.
Larkin was named to his post on January 6, five days after Reid’s New Year’s Day injury incident took place.
On January 20, during the State of the Union, a speeding driver being chased by DC police entered the Capitol zone, and Capitol Police refused to arrest him. As Roll Call reported:
The State of the Union night car chase that ended without arrest added new strains to already tense relationships inside the law enforcement community on Capitol Hill.
Capitol Police officers who were disturbed and embarrassed by the Jan. 20 incident allege it’s part of a frustrating pattern. They say commanders have instructed the rank and file to refrain from “low-value” stops — including traffic violations involving drunk driving and drug impairment on streets around the Capitol campus, multiple sources confirmed — because those arrests do not contribute to thwarting terrorism and protecting Congress.
Within the Capitol, House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Frank J. Larkin were frustrated when they were unable to get an accurate portrayal of the facts about the high-speed chase that ended on Washington Avenue Southwest, adjacent to the Rayburn House Office Building.
Tensions came to a head during the late January Capitol Police Board meeting with Chief Kim C. Dine and Deputy Chief Daniel B. Malloy, according to a source with knowledge of the conversations, because of a perceived lack of information from the scene. Discussions about communication between commanders and the troops are ongoing.
In the midst of the State of the Union address, department brass overruled the supervisor on the scene with an order not to arrest a driver who police say violated multiple traffic laws, including blowing through red lights at speeds of up to 60 mph with no driver’s license.
The State of the Union incident was just the latest in a long line of questionable decisions made by the leadership team at the Capitol Police. In 2013, for instance, rank-and-file members of the Capitol Police found two incidents particularly disturbing—the “stand-down” order issued during the Washington Navy Yard shootings, and the handling of a distraught mom driving erratically who was shot and killed by the Capitol Police in what some saw as an unnecessary overreaction.
As Roll Call reported:
Rank-and-file officers and union leaders draw parallels between [the] State of the Union night order not to arrest and other embarrassing incidents under Dine’s tenure. They include the “stand down” controversy that provoked the Capitol Police Board to review the department’s response to the Sept. 16, 2013, shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard and the Oct. 3, 2013, shooting of Miriam Carey — an incident that is still under internal review and has attracted a wrongful death lawsuit.
Lacking faith in Dine’s leadership, the Capitol Police official and half a dozen other officers of various rank who spoke to CQ Roll Call on the condition of anonymity said they would vote “no confidence” in the chief. Police union leaders are considering such a vote among their 960 members. It would be a difficult position for Dine, in the job for two years and two months. He was sworn in on Dec. 17, 2012, after a 37-year law enforcement career that began with D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department. He succeeded Phillip Morse, who held the post for more than five years.
Many members of the Hill’s law enforcement community are concerned the Capitol Police, which has more manpower than any other federal law enforcement force in the nation’s capital, no longer feels empowered to take action when public safety is threatened, pointing to instances when officers have been disciplined for enforcing the law.
The contents of the Capitol Police New Year’s Day incident report matter a great deal in independently determining whether Reid’s injuries were caused by an accident or an assault.
If, for instance, the incident report reveals the injuries occurred in the late morning or early afternoon, this information would be consistent with the home accident explanation.
If, however, the incident report reveals the injuries occurred on New Year’s Eve, or in the very early hours of New Year’s Day, or that the Capitol Police security detail transported Reid from his home to St. Rose Dominican Hospital on New Year’s Eve or the early hours of New Year’s Day, this information would tend to discount the home accident explanation and point to an alternative explanation, such as an assault.
Update: at 1 PM Eastern, Lieutenant Kimberly Schneider, Public Information Officer Capitol Police emailed the following:
“The U.S. Capitol Police does not discuss security or law enforcement sensitive information regarding the operations of the U.S. Capitol Police, or the security of Members of Congress.”
Since the Capitol Police Public Information Office has refused to provide any information, late Monday Breitbart News asked both the Inspector General of the Capitol Police and the Capitol Board to provide the public with the details surrounding Reid’s New Year’s Day injuries as well as into the conduct of the Capitol Police in failing to properly report those details.