Security cameras installed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home in San Francisco captured the break-in before her husband was attacked by a man with a hammer last week, but U.S. Capitol Police officers weren’t actively monitoring them at the time, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The report raises new questions about how someone was able to break into the Democratic leader’s home Friday and attack Paul Pelosi, who remains hospitalized after surgery for his injuries. But it also reflects the ongoing difficulties the Capitol Police and local law enforcement have in protecting members of Congress amid a surge in violent threats.
As the House speaker, facing a near-constant target of conservative ire, Pelosi receives more violent death threats than any other member of Congress. But the total numbers against lawmakers have surged more than tenfold in the five years since Donald Trump was elected president.
The Capitol Police monitor about 1,800 cameras each day, most at the Capitol complex in Washington but some at other points in the country. The Post notes the agency installed cameras at Pelosi’s home eight years ago and that she has a round-the-clock security detail. But she left her home in San Francisco last week, and most of the security detail left with her. The cameras were also not being monitored full time while she was in Washington.
David DePape is accused of breaking into Pelosi’s home seeking to kidnap the speaker and “break her kneecaps,” according to The Associated Press. The Post, citing current and former law enforcement officials, said officers monitoring the Capitol Police feeds early Friday only noticed there was an issue when they saw police lights flashing on the feeds from Pelosi’s home.
Paul Pelosi called 911 after the break-in, and police arrived while he was being attacked.
DePape has since been charged with attempted murder, burglary and attempted kidnapping of a U.S. official. He was ordered held without bail at an arraignment in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday after pleading not guilty.
Lawmakers are reportedly considering how to better address security concerns after the latest attacks and the fallout from the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Post added that the U.S. Capitol Police have been reminding those on the Hill about the resources that are available, including funding for at-home security systems and increased security budgets for individual lawmakers who may face more threats.
The Capitol Police have been working to improve intelligence and strengthen the relationship with local law enforcement agencies. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Tuesday that the attack on Paul Pelosi was an “alarming reminder of the dangerous threats elected officials and public figures face during today’s contentious political climate.”
“During this time of heightened political tension, we continue to monitor thousands of cases across the country ― in an effort to stop potential threats before they make headlines,” Manger said in a statement, noting the agency was on track to meet a goal of hiring 280 additional officers by the end of the year.
Congress appropriated almost $200 million in additional funding for the Capitol Police for 2023.