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tv   Capitol DC Police Testify on Jan. 6 Attack  CSPAN  January 7, 2022 4:57am-5:47am EST

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police about what they experienced a year ago. >> while i have been a sworn officer and washington, d.c. for almost two decades i law enforcement career actually began in this building as a united states capitol police after 9/11. in part because of the 2021 attack -- the 2001 attack on our
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country by terrorists i felt called to serve. i felt proud to protect this institution and dedicated members of congress and our staff who work hard every day. i remain proud to work for the united states capitol police and mpd officers commit their lives to protecting the safety of each of you and all of us in this room in our nation's capital. after leaving the united states capitol police i became and mpd officer serving the residence of washington, d.c.. i've spent the majority of my nearly 20 years as a metropolitan police officer working in special mission units whose responsibilities include the investigation and arrest of narcotics traffickers and violent criminals. i have worked both as an undercover officer and a lead case officer in many of these investigations. in this line of work it probably will not shock you to learn that
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i've dealt with dicey situations. i thought that i had seen it all many times over. yet, what i witnessed and experienced on january 6, 2020 one was unlike anything i'd ever seen, anything i'd ever experienced or could have imagined in my country. on that day i participated in the defense of the united states capitol from an armed mob, an armed mob, of thousands determined to get inside. because i was among the vastly outnumbered group of law enforcement officers protecting the capitol and the people inside it, i was grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country. 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." i can still hear those words in my head today.
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although i regularly deal with risky situations on the job, nowhere in my wildest imagination did i ever expect to be in that situation or sitting here before you talking about it. that experience and its aftermath were something that not even my extensive law enforcement training could prepare me for. i was just one of hundreds of local police who lined up to protect congress, even though i had not been assigned to do that. some had asked why we ran to help when we didn't have to. i did that because i simply could not ignore what was happening. like many other officers, i could not ignore the numerous calls, numerous calls for help coming from the capitol complex. i am a plain clothes officer assigned to the first district's crime suppression team, but for the first time in nearly a decade i put on my uniform. when my partner jimmy allbright
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and i arrived at the capitol at around 3:00 that afternoon it was unlike any scene i had ever witnessed. jimmy parked our police vehicle near the intersection of south capitol street and d street in southeast and we walked to the capitol. from there passing the long worth house office building. it was eerily quiet and the sidewalks, usually filled with pedestrians, were empty. as we made our way to independence avenue i could see dozens of empty police vehicles that filled the street, police barricades which had been abandoned, and hundreds of angry protesters, many of whom taunted us as we walked towards the capitol building. jimmy and i immediately began to search for an area where we could be of most assistance. we made our way through a door on the south side of the capitol, walking then to the crypt and finally down to the lower west terrace tunnel.
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it was there that i observed a police commander struggling to breathe as he dealt with the effects of cs gas that lingered in the air. then i watched him collect himself, straighten his cap and french coat adorned with its silver eagles, and return to the line. that commander was raily kyle of the metropolitan police department and those images are etched into my memory never to be forgotten. in the midst of that intense and chaotic scene commander kyle remained cool, calm, and collected as he gave commands to his officers. "hold the line" he shouted over the roar. of course, that day, the line was the seat of our american government. despite the confusion and stress of the situation observing ray's leadership, protecting a place i cared so much about was the most inspirational moment of my life. the bravery he and others showed
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that day are the best examples of duty, honor, and service. each of us who carries a badge should bring those core values to our work every day. the fighting in the lower west terrace tunnel was nothing short of brutal. here i observed approximately 30 police officers standing shoulder to shoulder, maybe four or five abreast, using the weight of their bodies to hold back the onslaught of violent attackers. many of these officers were injured, bleeding, and fatigued, but they continued to hold the line. as i don't have to tell the members in this room, the tunnel is a narrow and long hallway, it is not the sort of space anyone would want to be pulled into hand-to-hand combat with an angry mob. although the narrowness of the hallway provided what was probably the only chance of holding back the crowd from entering your personal offices,
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the house and senate chambers. in an attempt to assist the injured officers jimmy and i asked them if they needed a break. there were no volunteers. selflessly those officers only identified other colleagues who may be in need of assistance. the fighting dragged on. i eventually joined the tactical line at the tunnel's entrance. i can remember looking around and being shocked by the shear number of people fighting us. as my police body worn camera shows, thousands upon thousands of people seemingly determined to get past us by any means necessary. at some point during the fighting i was dragged from the line of officers and into the crowd. i heard someone screaming, "i got one." as i was swarmed by a violent mob they ripped off my badge, they grabbed and stripped me of
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my radio, they seized ammunition that was secured to my body, they began to beat me with their fists and with what felt like hard metal objects. at 1.i came face-to-face with an attacker who repeatedly lunged for me and attempted to remove my firearm. i heard chapting from some in the crowd, "get his gun and kill him with his own gun." i was aware enough to recognize i was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm. i was electrocuted again and again and again with a taser. i'm sure i was screaming, but i don't think i could even hear my own voice. my body camera captured the violence of the crowd directed toward me during those very frightening moments. it's an important part of the record for this committee's investigation and for the country's understanding of how i was assaulted and nearly killed
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as the mob attacked the capitol that day. and i hope that everyone will be able to watch it. the portions of the video i've seen remained extremely painful for me to watch at times, but it is essential that everyone understands what really happened that tragic day. during those moments i remember thinking there was a very good chance i would be torn apart or shot to death with my own weapon. i thought of my four daughters who might lose their dad. i remain grateful that no member of congress had to go through the violent assault that i experienced that day. during the assault i thought about using my firearm on my attackers, but i knew that if i did i would be quickly overwhelmed, and that in their minds would provide them with the justification for killing me so i instead decided to appeal to any humanity they might have. i said as loud as i could manage
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, "i've got kids." thankfully some in the crowd stepped in and assisted me. those few individuals protected me from a crowd and inched me toward the capitol until my fellow officers could rescue me. i was carried back inside. what happened afterwards is much less vivid. i had been beaten unconscious and remained so for more than four minutes. i know that jimmy helped to evacuate me from the building and drove me to med star washington hospital center. despite suffering significant injuries himself. at the hospital doctors told me that i had suffered a heart attack, that i was later diagnosed with a concussion, a traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder. as my physical injuries gradually subsided and the adrenaline that had stayed with me for weeks waned, i've been
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left with the psychological trauma and the emotional anxiety of having survived such a horrific event and my children continue to deal with the trauma of nearly losing their dad that day. what makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people i put my life at risk to defend, are down playing or outright denying what happened. i feel like i went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room, but too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist or that hell actually wasn't that bad. the indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful. my law enforcement career prepared me to cope with some of the aspects of this experience, being an officer you know your life is at risk whenever you walk out the door, even if you don't expect otherwise law
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abiding citizens to take up arms against you, but nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who 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. i agreed to speak here today and have talked publicly about what happened because i don't think our response to the insurrection should have anything to do with political parties. i know that what my partner jimmy and i suited up for on january 6 didn't have anything to do with political parties or about politics or what political party any of you public servants belong to.
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i have worked in this city for two decades and i have never cared about those things, no matter who was in office. all i have ever cared about is protecting you and the public. so you can do your job in service to this country and for those whom you represent. i appreciate your time and in attention. i look forward to the committee's investigation and i am hopeful with your commitment we as a country will confront the truth of what happened on january 6 and do what is necessary to make sure this institution of our democracy never falls into the hands of a violent and angry mob. we must also recognize the officers who responded that day, many unsolicited, and their countless acts of bravery and selflessness. it has been 202 days since 850 mpd officers responded to the
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capitol and helped stop a violent insurrection from taking over this capitol complex, which almost certainly saved countless members of congress and their staff from injury and possibly death. the time to fully recognize these officers is now. thank you again for the opportunity to provide my testimony here today. >> thank you very much for your testimony. i don't think there's any question you have our commitment that we will do just that as a committee. thank you. i now recognize officer hodges to summarize his testimony. >> good morning to the committee, members of the press
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and to the country. to the members of the committee i'd like to thank you for your invitation today to provide my account of my knowledge and experiences from january 6,2021. as the chairman mentioned, i'm a member of civil disturbance unit 42 and was working in that capacity on the day in question. we started that day at 7:30 a.m. and our assignment at the time was to maintain high visibility along constitution avenue, namely the blocks leading up to president's park where then president donald trump was holding his gathering. my particular station was in front of 1111 constitution avenue where i stood on foot as the crowd poured down the street and into the park. there were a significant number of men dressed in tactical gear attending the gathering, wearing ballistic vests, helmets, goggles, military face masks, backpacks and without identifiable visible law enforcement or military patches they appeared to be prepared for much more than listening to politicians speak in a park. two of my colleagues were approached by a group of three to four such men, they were white men in good shape with load bearing vests equipped with molly pouches, wearing dbus, tactical boots, black sunglasses
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and short haircuts, they had radios and one was equipped with an earpiece. after a bit of small talk one of them asked my colleague something to the effect of is this all the manpower you have? do you really think you're going to be able to stop all these people? dumbfounded my colleague simply expressed they didn't understand what the speaker meant and the group continued on. as the day went on and speakers in the park said their peace, i monitored the crowd and the radio. over the radio i heard our gun recovery unit working constantly, monitoring those in the crowds suspected of carrying firearms, making arrests and seizures when possible. multiple gun arrests were made from january 5 through the 7th that likely attended or planned to attend donald trump's gathering. unfortunately due to the course of events that day we will never know exactly how many were carrying firearms and other lethal weapons. i don't know what time it was, but eventually the flow of, the foot traffic reversed with people leaving president's park
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and traveling eastbound down constitution avenue towards the united states capitol. at approximately 12:30 p.m. i noticed a commotion about half a block to my east and i saw the crowd starting to coalesce around two figures. i ran to where they were and found a confrontation at the intersection of 10th and constitution avenue northwest. one counterprotester, a black man, was peddling away from a white man with a trump labeled face mask who was closely following him with an outstretched arm. my colleague and i separated the two but a crowd of donald trump's people gathered and they were shouting insults such as your mother is a whore and accusing of hiding behind the cops. eventually enough mpd members had gathered to move along the crowd who continued eastbound toward the capitol building and the counterprotester departed northbound on 10th street. returning to my post i continued to monitor the radio, i could hear commander glover leading
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the efforts at the capitol as the protesters began their transition from peaceful assembly into terrorism. i became agitated and wished we could move in to support as i could hear the increasing desperation in the commander's voice, yet we still had to wait for our orders to change and eventually they did. at approximately 1:30 p.m. the command authorized rapid response platoons to respond to the capitol including cdu 42. the last thing i remember hearing over the air before departing for the capitol grounds was confirmation that our explosive ordinance team had discovered a device, again, being associated with the device i immediately realized mpd discovered a bomb of some type near the capitol. this thought was never far from my mind for the rest of the day. we ran back to our vans and got on our hard gear as quickly as we could. navigating alternate routes to avoid the foot traffic we drove as close adds we could to the -- as close as we could to the capitol, disembarking at the northwest side of the capitol grounds.
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we gave our gear a final check and marched towards the west terrace. the crowd was thinner the further out from the capitol you were, so as we marched the resistance that we initially met with was verbal. a man sarcastically yelled, "here come the boys in blue, so brave." another called us on us to remember your oath. there was plenty of booing. a woman called us storm troopers, another woman who was part of the mob of terrorists laying siege to the capitol of the united states shouted traitors. more found appeal in this label and shouted traitors at us as we passed. one man attempted to turn and do a chant and we continued to march. we had been marching in two columns but as we got closer to the west terrace the crowd became so dense that in order to progress we marched single file with the hands on the shoulders of the man in front of us in order to avoid separation,
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however, as we came close to the terrorist our line was divided and we came under attack. a man attempted to rip the baton from my hands and we wrestled for control. i retained my weapon. he yelled at me, "you're on the wrong team." cut off from my leadership which is at the front of our formation we huddled up and assessed the threat surrounding us. one man tried and failed to build a rapport with me shouting " are you my brother?" another shouting "you will die on your knees." i was at the front of our group and determined we had to push our way through the crowd in order to join the defense proper so i began shouting make way as i forged ahead, hoping that i'm clearing a path for others behind me to follow. however, as i looked back i saw that the rest of the group came under attack and were unable to follow. the crowd attempted to physically bar the rest of the platoon from following. i backtracked and started pulling the terrorists off my team from their backpacks and collars. around this time one of the terrorists who had scaled the scaffolding that adorned the
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capitol at the time threw something heavy down at me and struck me in the head, disorienting me. i suspect this resulted in the likely concussion i dealt with in the weeks after. another man attempted to disarm me and my baton and, again, we wrestled for control. he kicked me in my chest as we went into the ground. i was able to retain my baton again, but i ended up on my hands and knees and blind. the medical mask i was wearing at the time to protect myself from the coronavirus was pulled up over my eyes so i couldn't see. i braced myself against the impact of their blows and feared the worst. thankfully my platoon had , repelled their own attackers and got me back on my feet. the crowd started chanting "usa" at us and we struck out again for the west terrace. i led the charge through the midst of crowd control munitions, explosions, and smoke engulfing the area, terrorists were breaking apart the metal fencing and bike racks into
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individual pieces, presumably to use at weapons. thankfully we made it so the secondary defense line on the west terrace. the rest of my platoon got behind the line and we could take stock of the situation. i realized back during the previous assault someone had stolen my radio. from that point on i was in the dark as to our current status, when reinforcements would arrive. terrorists were on the scaffolding on either side of us and attempting to go breach the waist-high metal fencing that was the only barrier we had aside from ourselves. the sea of people was punctuated throughout by flags, mostly variations of american flags and trump flags. there was gadsen flags, it was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be christians, i saw the christian flag directly to my front, another read jesus is my savior, trump is my president. another jesus is king. one flag read don't give up the ship. another had cross-rifles beneath
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a skull emblazoned with the pattern of the american flag. 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. the acrid sting of cs gas or tear gas and oc spray which is mace hung in the air as the terrorists threw their own cs, threw our own cs gas canisters back at us and sprayed us with their own oc either they bought themselves or stole from us. later i learned at least one of them was spraying us in the face with wasp spray. the terrorists alternated between attempting to break our defense and shouting at or attempting to convert us. men alleging to be veterans told us how they had fought for this country and were fighting for it again. one man tried to start a chant of four more years. another shouted do not attack us, we are not black lives matter, as if political affiliation is how we determine when to use force.
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a man in an qanon hoodie explains this is the time to choose which side of history to be on. a man whose shirt read god, guns , and trump stood behind him silently holding a trump flag. a new man came to the front and fixated on me, telling me to take off my gear and give it to him to show solidarity we the people or we're going to run over you. his voice cracked with the strain and volume of the stress. he continued, "do you think your little pea shooter guns are going to stop this crowd? no, we're going in that building." eventually there was a surge in the crowd, the fence buckled and broke apart and we were unable to hold the line. a chaotic melee ensued, terrorists pushed through the line and engaged us in hand-to-hand combat. several attempted to knock me over and steal my baton. one latched on to my face and
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got his thumb in my right i, attempting to gouge it out. i cried out in pain and imaged -- and managed to shake them off before any permanent damage was done. i couldn't fully engage anyone, for the moment when another 20 terrorists move in to attack while my hands were full. it was all we could do to keep ourselves on our feet and continue to fall back. i was sprayed with a fire extinguisher and a red smoke grenade burns at our feet. in the fight, a terrorist is knocked to the ground and his jacked rides up exposing a large hunting knife on his belt. i, along with several other officers, piled on him while another removed the knife from his person. he regained himself unarmed and shouts indignantly, " "what are you doing? what are you guys doing?" at this point the terrorists had claimed most of the western terrace cornering myself and other officers on the south
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edge. we found a side stair up to an upper landing followed by more stairs up and inside. inside the capitol building officers walked through the halls briefly until they found a place to sit to decontaminate their faces and take a quick breather. i followed suit. someone managed to find a package of water bottles and was passing them out. i washed off my face as best i could, rinsed out my mouth, and drank the rest. took the opportunity of relative safety to dawn my gas mask. i heard someone calling for officers to move to assist. i steeld myself for another round and descended the stairway into a long hallway filled with smoke and screams. the capitol building is labyrinthian, but i could tell this hallway led outside to where the terrorists had forced our retreat. officers were stacked deep, but every so often one would fall back from the front line nursing an injury or struggling to breathe, and those who remained would take a step forward. it was a battle of inches, with one side pushing the other a few and the other side regaining their ground.
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at the time i, and i suspect many others in the hallway, did not know that the terrorists had gained entry into the building by breaking in doors and windows elsewhere so we believed to be the last line of defense before the terrorists had true access to the building and potentially our elected representatives. eventually it was my turn in the meat grinder that was the front line. the terrorists had a wall of shields they had stolen from officers as well as stolen batons and what other armaments they brought, even during this intense contest of wills they tried to convert us to our cult. one man shouted, "we all just want to make our voices heard and i think you feel the same. i really think you really feel the same." all while another man attempts to batter us with a stolen shield. another man, like many others, didn't seem to appreciate that this wasn't a game. he fought his way across the lawn, up the steps, through the western terrace, all the oc and cs gas and at the front line of this final threshold was asking us to hold on because he had asthma.
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the two sides were at a stalemate at a metal door frame that sat in the middle of the who will way. i inserted myself so the frame was at my back in order to give myself something to brace against and provide additional strength when pushing forward. unfortunately soon after i secured this position the momentum shifted and we lost the ground that got me there. on my left was a man with a clear riot shield stolen during the assault. he slammed it against me and with all the weight of the bodies pushing behind him trapped me. my arms were pinned and effectively useless, trapped against the shield on my left or the door frame on my right with my posture granting me to functional strength or freedom of movement i was defenseless and gradually sustaining injuries from the increasing pressure of the mob. directly in front of me a man seized the opportunity of my vulnerability, grabbed the front of my gas mask and used it to beat my head against the door, he switched to pulling it off my head, the straps stretching
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against my skull and straining my neck. he never uttered any words i recognized but instead opted for guttural screams. i remember him foaming at the mouth. he also put his cellphone in the mouth so he had both hands free to assault me. eventually he succeeded in stripping away my gas mask and a new rush of exposure to cs and oc spray hit me. the mob of terrorists were coordinated in their efforts shouting heave, ho and they pushed their way forward. pushing me further against the metal door frame. a man in front of me grabbed my baton that i held am my hands, i was unable to retain my weapon. he bashed me in the face and head with it, rupturing my lip and adding additional injury to my skull. at this point i knew i couldn't sustain much more damage and remain upright. at best i would collapse and be a liability to my colleagues, at worst be dragged out into the crowd and lynched. unable to move or otherwise signal the officers behind me that i needed to fall back i did
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the only thing that i could do and screamed for help. thankfully my voice was heard over the cacophony of yells and blaring alarm. the officer closest to me was able to extricate me from my position and another helped me fall back to the building again. i had found some more water and decontaminated my face as best i could. i don't know how long i waited in the halls for, but soon after i got back in on my feet and went to where the fight was again. until reinforcements arrived every able body made a difference. without my gas mask i was afraid i would be a liability in the hallway, so i took the exit outside at the upper landing above the west terrace. i found the police line being held and the terrorists encircling us much like on the west terrace lower. it was getting later in the day, however, and it appeared we weren't the only ones getting tired, it seemed most of the mob was content to yell rather than try to break our line again.
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after some time of guarding the upper landing i saw reinforcements arrive from the south. i'm not sure what law enforcement agency it was but i turned to them and started clapping as it was a sign that badly needed help was starting to finally arrive. soon after that i started feeling the effects of the day taking their toll and went back inside to rest. gradually all the members of cd 42 gathered in the room known as the capitol crypt, we checked on each other and convalesced, glad to see each other in one piece. despite our exhaustion we would have ran out in the fight again should the need have arisen. thankfully as the day wore on more and more resources had arrived at the capitol to drive off the terrorists. we stayed in the crypt until quite late. even after we were allowed to leave the grounds we didn't get to go home. those who needed immediate medical attention took a van to the local hospital while the rest of us parked near the city center until the city was deemed
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secure enough for us to check off. i believe we finally got that message around 1:00 a.m. the following morning. we drove back to the 4th district and from there went home. thank you for letting me testify. >> thank you very much for your testimony. and i will now recognize officer dunn to summarize his testimony. >> chairman thompson, members of the select committee, thank you for the opportunity today to give my account regarding the events of january 6, 2021 from my firsthand experience as a capitol police officer directly involved in those events and still hurting from what happened that day. i am providing this testimony solely in my personal capacity and not as a representative of the united states capitol police.
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before i begin, before i begin, i'd like to take a moment of my time to ask for a moment of silence for my fallen colleague officer brian sicknick who died from injuries he sustained in the line of duty defending the capitol of our beloved democracy. thank you. i reported for duty at the capitol as usual early on the morning of january 6. we understood that the vote to certify president biden's election would be taking place that day and protests might occur outside the capitol. but we expected any demonstrations to be peaceful expressions of first amendment freedoms, just like the scores of demonstrations we had
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observed for many years. after roll call i took my overwatch post on the east front of the capitol, standing on the steps that led up to the senate chamber. as the morning progressed i did not see or hear anything that gave me cause for alarm, but around 10:56 a.m. i received a text message from a friend forwarding a screenshot of what appeared to be the potential plan of action, very different from a peaceful demonstration. the screenshot bore the caption january 6 rally point lincoln park. and said the objective was the capitol. it said amongst other things that trump has given us marching orders and to keep your guns hidden. it urged people to bring your trauma kits and gas masks to link up early in the day in six
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to 12-man teams. it indicated that there would be time to arm up. seeing that message caused me concern. to be sure, looking back now it seemed to foreshadow what happened later. at the time, though, we had not received any threat warnings from our chain of command. i had no independent reason to believe that violence was headed our way. as the morning progressed and the crowd of protesters began to swell on the east side of the capitol, many displaying trump flags, the crowd was chanting slogans like stop the steal and we want trump. but the demonstration was still being conducted in a peaceful manner. earlier that afternoon capitol police dispatch advised all units over the radio that we had an active 10-100 at the republican national committee nearby. 10-100 is police code for
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suspicious package which is a potential bomb. that radio dispatch got my attention and i started to get more nervous and worried, especially because the crowds on the east front of the capitol were continuing to grow. around the same time i started receiving reports on the radio about large crowd movements around the capitol coming from the ellipse to the west and east of the capitol. i heard a desperate voice that demonstrators on the west side had breached the fence. it was obvious there was a direct threat to the capitol. i quickly put on a steel chest plate which weighs approximately weighs approximately 20 pounds. carrying my rifle, sprinted around the north side of the
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capitol to the west terrace and the railing of the inaugural stage where i had a broad view of what was going on. i was stunned by what i saw. what seemed like a sea of people, capitol police officers and metropolitan police officers , mpd, engaged in desperate hand-to-hand fighting with rioters across the west lawn. until then, i had never seen anyone physically assault capitol police or mpd, let alone witness mass assaults being perpetrated on law enforcement officers. i witnessed the rioters using all kinds of weapons against officers, including flag poles, metal bike racks they had torn apart, and various kinds of projectiles. officers were being bloodied in the fighting. many were screaming and many were blinded and coughing from chemical irritants being sprayed in their faces.
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i gave decontamination aid to as many officers as i could, flushing their eyes with water to dilute the chemical irritants. soon thereafter i heard, attention all units, the capitol had been breached and rioters were in various places inside the building. i rushed in with another officer to the basement on the senate side where i heard an mpd officer needed a defibrilator. after returning outside to the west terrace i went in the capitol and up the stairs towards the crypt. there i saw rioters who had invaded the capitol carrying a confederate flag, a red maga flag, and a don't tread on me flag. i decided to stand my ground there to prevent any rioters from heading down the stairs to
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the lower west terrace entrance, because that's where officers were getting decontamination aid and were particularly vulnerable. at the top of the stairs i con -- i confronted a group of insurrectionists warning them don't go down the steps. one of them shouted, " "keep moving, patriots." another one displayed what looked like a law enforcement badge and told me, "we're doing this for you." one of the invaders approached me like he was going to try to get past me and head down the stairs. i hit him, knocking him down. after getting relieved by other officers in the crypt, i took off running upstairs towards the speaker's lobby and helped the plain clothes officer who was getting hassled by insurrectionists. some of them were dressed like members of a militia group, wearing tactical vests, cargo pants, and body armor. i was physically exhausted and
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it was hard to breathe and to see because of all the chemical spray in the air. more and more insurrectionists were pouring into the area by the speaker's lobby near the rotunda, some wearing maga hats and shirts that read trump 2020. i told them to leave the capitol. in response they yelled, "no, man, this is our house, president trump invited us here, we're here to stop the steal, joe biden is not the president, nobody voted for joe biden." i'm a law enforcement officer and i do my best to keep politics out of my job, but in this circumstance i responded, "well, i voted for joe biden, does my vote not count? am i nobody?"
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that prompted a torrent of racial epithets. one woman in a pink maga shirt yelled, "you hear that guys, this nigger voted for joe biden." then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming "boo fucking nigger." no one had ever, ever called me a nigger while wearing the uniform of a capitol police officer. in the days following the attempted insurrection, other black officers shared with me their own stories of racial abuse on january 6. one officer told me he had never in his entire 40 years of life been called a nigger to his face and that streak ended on january 6. yet another black officer later told me he had been confronted by insurrectionists in the
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capitol who told him, put your gun down and we'll show you what kind of nigger you really are. to be candid, the rest of the afternoon is a blur, but i know i went throughout the capitol to assist officers who needed aid and help expel more insurrectionists. in the crypt, i encountered sergeant gunlnel, who was giving assistance to an unconscious woman who had been in the crowd of rioters on the west side of the capital. i helped to carry her to the house majority leader's office where she was administered cpr. as the afternoon wore on, i was completely drained, both physically and emotionally, and in shock and total disbelief over what had happened. once the building was cleared, i went to the rotunda to recover with other officers and share our experiences from what happened that afternoon. representative rodney davis was there offering support to
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officers. when he and i saw each other, he came over and he gave me a big hug. i sat down on the 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. i became very emotional and began yelling how the blank could something like this happen? is this america? i began sobbing. officers came over to help me. -- came over to console me. later on january 6, after order and security had been restored in the capitol through the hard work and sacrifices of law enforcement, members took the floor of the house to speak out about what had happened that day. among them was house minority
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leader kevin mccarthy, who along with my fellow officers, i had protected that day and will protect today and tomorrow. i had protected that day and will protect today and tomorrow. the minority leader, to his great credit, said the following to the house, the violence, destruction, and chaos we saw earlier was unacceptable, undemocratic, and un-american. it was the saddest day i have ever had serving in this institution. members of the select committee, the minority leader was absolutely right. how he described what took place in the capitol. for those of us in the capitol police who serve and revere this institution and who love the capitol building, it was the saddest day for us as well.
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more than six months later, january 6 still isn't over for me. i've had to avail myself of multiple counselling sessions from the capitol police employee assistance program and i'm now receiving private counselling therapy for the persistent emotional drama of that day. i've also participated in many peer support programs with fellow law enforcement officers from around the united states. i know so many other officers continue to hurt, both physically and emotionally. i want to take this moment to speak to my fellow officers about the emotions they continue to experience from the events of january 6. there's absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counselling. what we went through that day was traumatic. if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counselling services that are available to us. i also respectfully ask that this select committee review the available resources, the
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services available to us and consider whether they are sufficient enough to meet our needs, especially with respect to the amount of leave that we are allowed. in closing, we can never again allow democracy to be put in peril as it was on january 6. i thank the members of the select committee for your commitment to determine what led to disaster at the capitol on january 6, what actually took place that day, and what steps should be taken to prevent such an attack on our democracy from ever happening again.
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the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, chaplain kibben.
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