A police officer who defended the US Capitol throughout a riot by Donald Trump supporters on 6 January has stated he feared he could be crushed by the mob.
“This is how I’m going to die,” a tearful Aquilino Gonell informed a Congressional committee as an inquiry opened into the Washington DC assault.
Another officer, Harry Dunn, who’s black, stated he was racially abused.
At least 535 rioters have been arrested for the reason that assault that left 5 useless, together with one police officer.
Prosecutors have to this point secured just a few convictions.
The assault led to the political impeachment and acquittal of Republican Mr Trump, who was accused by lawmakers of inciting the riot – a declare he has repeatedly denied.
The inquiry within the House Select committee is being carried out virtually totally by Democrats, after most Republicans boycotted the proceedings.
However, two Republicans – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – have damaged ranks to hitch the investigation.
“If those responsible are not held accountable… this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic,” Ms Cheney stated because the listening to started on Tuesday.
The nine-member choose committee was fashioned after Republicans objected to an impartial fee such because the one which investigated the 11 September 2001 assaults.
The panel – which has powers to summon witnesses – is predicted to analyze the circumstances main as much as the riot and why legislation enforcement our bodies have been ill-prepared.
A ‘medieval battlefield’
On Tuesday, 4 law enforcement officials described being overwhelmed and assaulted by rioters who had come to disrupt the certification by Congress of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Officer Gonell described the scene as a “medieval battlefield”.
Wiping away tears, he described returning house and pushing his spouse away from him due to the quantity of chemical irritant that had soaked into his uniform.
The Iraq War veteran went on to criticise Republicans for what he described as their “continuous shocking attempt” to “ignore or destroy the truth” about that day.
Asked by Ms Cheney about Mr Trump’s declare that they have been a “very loving crowd,” Sgt Gonell hit again: “I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses.”
“If that was hugs and kisses, we should all go to his house and do the same thing to him.”He later stated that he didn’t imply for anybody to go to Mr Trump’s house, and apologised for the “outburst”.
Officer Dunn stated he informed a number of protesters that he had voted for Mr Biden.
“Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?” he informed them, after they wrongly claimed that the election was fraudulent.
“That prompted a torrent of racial epithets,” he testified. “One woman in a pink Maga [Make America Great Again] shirt yelled, ‘You hear that, guys, this [expletive] voted for Joe Biden!”
“No-one had ever – ever – called me a [expletive] while wearing the uniform of a Capitol police officer.”
‘Those phrases are weapons’
Officer Michael Fanone slammed his fist on the desk as he accused Republicans of a “disgraceful” violation of their oaths of workplace.
Mr Kinzinger, one of many solely Republicans who voted to question Mr Trump for his position within the riot, appeared to carry again tears as he criticised his colleagues.
“We still don’t know exactly what happened. Why? Because many in my party have treated this as just another partisan fight. It’s toxic and it’s a disservice to the officers and their families,” Mr Kinzinger stated.
Officer Dunn stated he didn’t absolutely course of the racial remark till the next days.
“I was just trying to survive that day, and get home.
“When I used to be capable of course of it, it was so emotional. It was so disheartening and disappointing that we stay in a rustic like that, the place they assault you due to the color of your pores and skin.
“Just to hurt you. Those words are weapons.”
Officer Daniel Hodges’ lip trembled with emotion as he was proven a video of himself trapped in a doorway being pummelled by rioters, who he repeatedly known as “terrorists” throughout his testimony.
“To my perpetual confusion, I saw the Thin Blue Line flag, a symbol of support for police, more than once, as the terrorists continued to ignore our commands and attacked us,” he stated.