U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) have been ordered to arrest visitors and staffers not wearing masks on the House side of the Capitol complex.
USCP Chief Thomas Manger announced this in a new police memo that was obtained by a member of Congress, according to Fox News.
While officers were told not to arrest members of Congress who refuse to wear masks, they will instead be directed to report the lawmakers’ noncompliance to the House sergeant-at-arms.
Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) posted the memo to Twitter on Thursday after she was given it by an unnamed Capitol Police officer.
“This is such an overstep of Speaker Pelosi’s authority to basically make our Capitol Police arrest staff members and report on members [of Congress],” Cammack said of the memo. “It’s absolutely unconscionable that this is where we’re at.”
Cammack and many of her fellow Republican lawmakers have been furious over Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) new mask mandate in the House.
“I cannot comply with this tyrannical order,” Cammack said of it. “This is the people’s house, not Nancy Pelosi’s house.”
The Capitol Police have defended the memo, claiming that this rule had already been in place and that there’s “no reason” any situation should escalate to the point where someone should be arrested for not wearing a mask.
“Regarding the House rules about masks, there is no reason it should ever come to someone being arrested,” the USCP said. “Anyone who does not follow the rules will be asked to wear a mask or leave the premises. The Department’s requirement for officers to wear masks is for their health and safety.”
Pelosi’s office has tried to deflect by claiming that she doesn’t even have the power to order the Capitol Police to arrest anyone.
“The speaker of the House does not control the U.S. Capitol Police,” said Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill. “We were unaware of the memo until it was reported in the press.”
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) responded to the memo by pointing out that Capitol Police can only arrest people for not wearing masks on the House side, and not on the Senate side. This is clearly because leaders in the upper chamber have not returned to mask mandates.
“If you are a Capitol police officer you got orders … if a vaccinated staffer comes across in the House side without a mask you’re ordered to arrest them, but not on the Senate side,” McCarthy said. “This is not the America we know.”
This piece was written by James Samson on July 29, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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