POLITICAL NEWS

'This is how I'm going to die': Officers tell Jan. 6 stories

Published on July 27, 2021 9:44 AM

by MARY CLARE JALONICK

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WASHINGTON (AP) — "This is how I'm going to die, defending this entrance."

Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell told House investigators Tuesday he could feel himself losing oxygen as he was crushed by rioters – supporters of then-President Donald Trump – as he was defending the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who rushed to the scene, told the new House committee investigating the attack that he was "grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country." Doctors later told him he'd had a heart attack.

Daniel Hodges, also a D.C. police officer, said he remembers foaming at the mouth as rioters crushed him between two doors and bashed him in the head with his own weapon, injuring his skull.

"I did the only thing I could do, scream for help," Hodges said.

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said one group of rioters, perhaps 20 people, screamed the n-word at him as he was trying to keep them from breaching the House chamber.

The four officers gave emotional, occasionally angry, accounts of the attack, in which they were beaten and verbally abused as the mob of Trump' supporters overwhelmed them, broke through windows and doors and interrupted the certification of Democrat Joe Biden's presidential win. The new committee is launching its probe with a focus on the law enforcement officers who protected them — an effort by the panel to put a human face on the violence of the day.

Tensions on Capitol Hill have only worsened since the insurrection, with many Republicans playing down, or outright denying, the violence that occurred and denouncing the Democratic-led investigation as politically motivated. Democrats are hoping to win public support for the probe by reminding people how brutal it was, and how the law enforcement officers who were sworn to protect the Capitol suffered serious injuries at the hands of the rioters...