US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn had a message for the January 6th rioters who attempted to subvert democracy: “you failed.” (watch above)
“Democracy went on that night and still continues to exist today. Democracy is bigger than any one person and any one party,” Dunn added in testimony before the special House committee investigating the attack.
Dunn was one of four law enforcement officers to appear before the committee. He began his testimony by requesting a moment of silence for Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after fending off the rioters.
Dunn said the rioters asserted their right to breach the Capitol. They told him, “President Trump invited us here. We’re here to stop the steal. Joe Biden is not the president. Nobody voted for Joe Biden.”
When Dunn responded that he voted for Biden, a woman responded, “did you hear that, guys, that [N-word] voted for Joe Biden.” Dunn said other rioters began taunting him, saying “Boo! Fucking [N-word].”
“No one had ever, ever called me a [N-word] while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police Officer,” Dunn said. He added:
Thankfully, at the moment it didn’t hinder me from doing my job. But once I was able to process it, it hurt, it hurt just reading it now. And just thinking about it. That people demonize you because of the color of your skin when my blood is red, I’m an American citizen, I’m a police officer, I’m a peace officer, I’m here to defend this country, defend everybody in this building.
When Rep. Adam Schiff asked Officer Harry Dunn if the insurrection was America, I’m glad that Dunn responded by acknowledging that it is. It’s part of America’s long and sometimes tragic history.
I hate when politicians say “this is not who we are” or “this is not America.” pic.twitter.com/l3NUQcxpTf
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 27, 2021
DC Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges also provided moving testimony, describing the moment he was pinned between two doors. “Directly in front of me, a man seized the opportunity of my vulnerability to grab the front of my gas mask and used it beat my head against the door,” he said.
This is the scene officer Daniel Hodges is describing
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) July 27, 2021
Hodges continued, “To my perpetual confusion, I saw the thin blue line flag, the symbol of support for law enforcement more than once being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us.”
Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell told lawmakers that he was insulted by Trump’s description of the January 6th rioters as “loving.”
“It is a pathetic excuse for his behavior, for something that he himself helped to create this monstrosity. I’m still recovering from those ‘hugs and kisses’ that day,” Gonell said. He added:
It was not Antifa, it was not or Black Lives [Matter], it was not the FBI; it was his supporters that he sent them over to the Capitol that day. And he could have done a lot of things. One of them was to tell them to stop. He talks about sacrificing, sacrifices; well now, the only thing that he has sacrificed is the institutions of the country and the country itself only for his ego.
Gonell, an Iraq War veteran, said he was convinced he was going to die on January 6th. “I was more afraid to work at the Capitol than in my entire deployment to Iraq. In Iraq, we were in a war zone. But nothing in my experience in the army or as a law enforcement officer prepared me for what we confronted on Jan. 6.”
Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell: "There are some who express outrage when someone kneels while calling for social justice. Where are those same people expressing the outrage to condemn the violent attack on law enforcement, the Capitol, and our American democracy?" pic.twitter.com/bdBQiiEgZX
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 27, 2021
DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone said he heard the mob shout out “kill him with his own gun.”
"I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm, as I heard chants of 'kill him with his own gun.'"
— DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone pic.twitter.com/4przZIOvVe
— The Recount (@therecount) July 27, 2021
“I can still hear those words in my head today,” Fanone said. He described being “electrocuted again and again and again with a taser.”
Fanone had sharp words for lawmakers who have tried to downplay the violence of that day:
Being an officer you know your life is at risk whenever you walk out of the door, even if you don’t expect otherwise law-abiding citizens to take up arms against you. But nothing – truly nothing – has addressed the elected members of our government that continue to deny the events of that day, and in doing so, betray their oath of office. Those very members whose lives, offices, staff members, I was fighting so desperately to defend.