Four veteran law enforcement officers gave emotional testimony Tuesday about injuries they sustained while responding to the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.
They shared their experience during the first hearing of the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
“I heard, get his gun. Kill him with his own gun,” said Metropolitan Police Officer (MPD) Michael Fanone.
Fanone described being dragged into the crowd, stripped of his badge and radio and being beaten.
“I thought of my four daughters who might lose their dad,” Fanone said. “I said as loud as I could manage, I got kids.”
The committee played disturbing police body camera footage showing the officers being overtaken by the violent mob.
In a powerful moment in his testimony, Fanone condemned remarks downplaying the severity of the attack.
“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” said Fanone as he pounded his hand on the table.
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, an Iraq war veteran, described officers being attacked with hammers, flags and pepper spray.
“The rioters called me a traitor, a disgrace, and shouted that I, an Army veteran and a police officer, should be executed,” said Gonell. “On Jan. 6, for the first time I was more afraid to work at the Capitol than my entire deployment in Iraq.”
MPD Officer Daniel Hodges said he saw the crowd transform from “peaceful assembly to terrorism.”
“I saw the thin blue line flag being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us,” said Hodges.
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn started his testimony by asking for a moment of silence for fallen officer Brian Sicknick, who died after responding to the Jan. 6 attack.
Dunn described being beaten and called racial slurs by rioters.
“I witnessed the rioters using all kinds of weapons against the officers including flag poles,” said Dunn. “Officers were being bloodied. Many were screaming and coughing from chemical irritants.”
The Select Committee weighing this testimony has been controversial on Capitol Hill with a strong divide between Democrats and Republicans.
Last week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pulled his Republican appointees from the panel after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected two of them.
“Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi will only pick people onto the committee that will ask the questions she wants asked and that becomes a failed committee and a failed report,” said McCarthy. “A sham that no one can believe.”
Despite the boycott, two Republicans did join the committee alongside seven Democrats.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) are on the panel and urged their colleagues to focus on the investigation and not politics.
“Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our constitution?” said Cheney.
“I’m a Republican,” said Kinzinger. “I’m a conservative but in order to recover from the damage of that day, we need to call out the facts.”
The officers hurt that day said the trauma will be long-lasting.
“January 6th still isn’t over for me,” said Dunn.
“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including many of the people I risked my life to defend, are downplaying what happened,” said Fanone.
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