Capitol Officers Recall the Terror of the January 6 Riot

Officer Harry Dunn

“This is how I’m going to die,” one officer recalled thinking while he was being beaten by Capitol rioters.

Four police officers delivered emotional testimony about the violence, verbal abuse, and terror they experienced while defending the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot at Congress’s first hearing on the attack yesterday. Here’s a recap.

Recalling the attack

They were beaten, sprayed with chemicals, and tased, the officers told a House committee. D.C. Metro officer Michael Fanone, who was knocked unconscious and suffered a heart attack, said he heard one rioter shout, “Get his gun! Kill him with his own weapon.” He recalls pleading for his life, telling the mob, “I have kids.” Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, an Army veteran, said the experience was more terrifying than serving in Iraq. While he was being punched and gasping for air, he thought, “This is how I’m going to die.”

Implicating Trump

The officers urged Congress to investigate the role former President Trump may have played in the attack. “All of them were telling us, ‘Trump sent us,’” Gonell said of the rioters. Officer Harry Dunn compared Trump to someone who hired a “hit man,” telling the committee, “I want you to get to the bottom of that.”

Cheney’s charge

Rep. Liz Cheney issued a grave warning that the riot would remain a “cancer on our constitutional republic” if Congress failed to hold those responsible to account. Cheney — one of just two House Republicans on the panel — urged lawmakers to nail down precisely “what happened every minute of that day in the White House,” down to “every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack.”