The razor wire-topped fence surrounding the US Capitol since the Jan. 6 riots will likely stick around a while longer after a deadly attack that killed a police officer.
Hatred of the fence, along with other strict security measures put in place after the January attack on the Capitol Building, was among few areas of bipartisan agreement in Washington in recent weeks
Officer William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year-veteran of the force, died after a man rammed his car into a barrier outside the Senate side of the building. The driver, Noah Green, 25, was shot and when he lunged at cops with a knife after getting out of the car.
The breach could delay further reopening the Capitol grounds to the public, The Associated Press reported.
While about 2,300 National Guard members were slated to stay at the Capitol through the end of May because of heightened safety concerns, Capitol Police two weeks ago removed the outer fence installed right after the Jan. 6 riot, which had cut off city streets around the building.
An inner layer of fencing remains, but many members of Congress believe the grounds should be open to the public regardless of any potential threat. The building itself has been closed to visitors for the past year because of the pandemic.
“I think we’ve overdone it,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell last month. “It looks terrible to have the beacon of our democracy surrounded by razor wire and National Guard troops.“
“It’s just ghastly, it’s an embarrassment,” said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Republican. “If there’s a better way to protect us, I want to see it. I want to work to get it.”
But security officials say the building will not return to the same state it was before the insurrection.
Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, the chairman of a House spending committee that oversees security and the Capitol, said research into the best measures to take is underway. He even called Israeli security officials to see how they keep their government secure.
“We’ve got to figure out what the sweet spot is with the security,” he said.
With Post Wires