Four police officers recalled horrifying violence and chaos suffered during the Capitol riot in opening statements to the Jan. 6 select committee Tuesday morning.
The committee’s first hearing began Tuesday, featuring testimony from U.S. Capitol Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, Capitol Police Officer Michael Fanone, MPD Officer Daniel Hodges and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn.
“What we were subjected to that day was like something from a medieval battle,” Gonell testified. “We fought hand to hand … I recall thinking to myself, ‘this is how I’m gonna die.’”
Fanone went second, recalling the injuries he suffered and the outrage he felt at those in the Capitol that day who have downplayed the riot.
“I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and people in this room, but too many people are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist or hell wasn’t that bad,” Fanone said. “The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” he added, slamming his hand on the table in frustration.
Hodges followed, testifying how he was struck by some of the rioters who displayed a “thin blue line” flag, a pro-law enforcement symbol, as they openly assaulted police officers. (RELATED: ‘Nothing Is Off Limits’ When It Comes To Trump Testifying, Capitol Riot Commission Chair Says)
“To my perpetual confusion, I saw the thin blue line flag, a symbol of support for law enforcement … carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us,” Hodges said.
Dunn concluded, stating how the attackers hurled racial slurs and violent threats at him after he told them that he had voted for President Joe Biden.
“’You hear that guys, this n***** voted for Joe Biden,'” Dunn said. “Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in, screaming ‘Boo! Fucking N*****!’”
“I sat down on a bench in the rotunda with a friend of mine who is also a black Capitol police officer and told him about the racial slurs I endured,” Dunn continued. “I became very emotional and began yelling, ‘how the blank could something like this happen. Is this America?'”
Dunn went on to quote House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, referencing comments he made on Jan. 6: “The violence, destruction and chaos we saw earlier, was unacceptable, undemocratic and un-American.”
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