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'This Is How I'm Going to Die:' 4 Cops Remember Jan. 6

Special House panel begins its investigation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2021 12:19 PM CDT
'This Is How I'm Going to Die:' 4 Cops Remember Jan. 6
Capitol Police officer Aquilino Gonell wipes his eyes as he watches a video during the hearing.   (Brendan Smialowski/Pool via AP)

(Newser) – Four officers present during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol told harrowing accounts of that day as a special House panel began investigating what happened. Details, via the AP, the Washington Post, Politico, and the Wall Street Journal:

  • Capitol Police officer Aquilino Gonell: He described losing oxygen while being crushed by rioters. "This is how I'm going to die," he remembered thinking, "defending this entrance." He added that "there is a continuous and shocking attempt to ignore or try to destroy the truth of what truly happened that day, and to whitewash the facts."
  • DC officer Michael Fanone: He described being "grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country." Doctors would later inform him that he suffered a mild heart attack during the melee.
  • DC officer Daniel Hodges: "I did the only thing I could do, scream for help," Hodges said, recalling how rioters crushed him against a door and beat him in the head and face with his own baton. "To my perpetual confusion, I saw the thin blue line flag, a symbol of support for law enforcement, more than once being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us."

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  • Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn: He recounted how people screamed the n-word at him, saying it was disturbing that "people demonize you because of the color of your skin." He added that other Black officers were subjected to same treatment. "January 6 still isn't over for me."
  • Gonell: "It was not antifa. It was not Black Lives Matter. It was not the FBI. It was (former President Trump's) supporters that he sent ... over to the Capitol that day. And he could have done a lot of things. One of them was to tell them to stop." Gonell said it was "insulting" that Trump later praised the rioters as "loving" people. "What he was doing, instead of sending the military, instead of sending the support or telling his people, his supporters, to stop this nonsense, he begged them to continue fighting. I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day."
  • Fanone: "I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them, and too many in this room … are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist or hell actually wasn’t that bad," he said, referring to lawmakers who he says want to downplay the riot. "The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful."
  • Before the hearing began, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy called it a "sham" orchestrated by Nancy Pelosi. In contrast, Liz Cheney, one of only two Republicans on the panel, said they should investigate "every minute of that day in the White House."
(Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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