Norton Strongly Opposes Permanent Fencing at the U.S. Capitol, Makes Other Proposals for Capitol Security

Jan 29, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that she will do everything in her power to prevent permanent fencing, walls or structures around the U.S. Capitol complex or in the District of Columbia. Norton today sent a letter to the Capitol Police Board opposing the recommendation of Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman for permanent fencing at the Capitol complex.  In her letter, Norton called permanent fencing “security theater—it would make the Capitol ‘look’ safe but mask the lack of state-of-the-art security measures that could actually prevent attacks in the future.” 

In a separate statement today, Norton said: “Temporary fences at the Capitol are necessary for security now, given the attack of January 6th. However, the attack must not lead to an overreaction that fundamentally changes the people’s house into a fortress against the people. The failure at the Capitol was largely preventable had the Capitol Police called on the assistance of more than a dozen available federal security forces. The planning and calls for people to storm the Capitol were not done in secret, but were done openly for weeks, encouraged by Trump’s hyped claims of a stolen election and his call for people to gather in the District on January 6th, capped by a speech actually urging people to go to the Capitol just before the insurrection occurred.  

“Fencing is a 19th-century approach to security that must not become our response to the failures of January 6th, when state-of-the-art 21st-century approaches are available and are more effective. I remind the Capitol Police Board that our Founders and the architects of the nation’s capital placed the Capitol in the center of our city, in a neighborhood surrounded by residents. We will not allow the Capitol Hill neighborhood to be turned into a military zone any more than the Capitol itself.”