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Horror, Racism, Chaos: Capitol Police Officers Recall Shocking Jan 6 Events

Capitol Riot
The Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. Credit: Tyler Merbler/ CC BY 2.0

Multiple Capitol Hill police officers gave testimonies today on their experience of the January 6th Capitol Hill Riots and the intense racism they experienced at the hands of the rioters. Violence at the Capitol erupted over the results of the 2020 Presidential election. The rioters believed that the election was “rigged” in favor of Joe Biden.

Dunn spoke emotionally about the racial slurs some rioters used in response to Dunn telling them he had voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential election: “You hear that, guys, this n***** voted for Joe Biden!” said one rioter, the crowd following with, “Boo! F****** n*****!”

Dunn said in his testimony that he had told the rioters he voted for Biden after one confronted him and said that they had been invited to the Capitol by Donald Trump and that no one had voted for Biden.

“Well, I voted for Joe Biden,” Dunn responded to the crowd. “Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?”

Officers give intense testimonies of the Jan 6 Capitol Riots

Dunn said that he found his experience at the riots emotionally draining and even traumatizing. The officer said that he turned to a fellow African American officer and said “‘How the [expletive] can something like this happen?! Is this America?’ I began sobbing, and officers came over to console me.”

Dunn also encouraged those who witnessed the riots to reach out for professional support:

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling,” Dunn said. “What we all went through that day was traumatic, and if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us.”

Dunn was not the only officer who had visceral memories of that day in January.  U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who also testified today, said that the events were “horrific and devastating.”

Watch officer Dunn’s testimony on the Capitol Riots:

“My fellow officers and I were punched, pushed, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants and even blinded with eye-damaging lasers by a violent mob who apparently saw us law enforcement officers, dedicated to ironically protecting them as U.S. citizens, as an impediment in their attempted insurrection,” recounted Gonnell.

Gonnell opened his testimony by recalling the voices of screaming officers, who shouted out “in agony” as the rioters rushed the Capitol building, leaving many officers crushed and wounded.

Officer Gonell’s testimony about the Capitol Riots

Gonell described how he desperately tried to help other officers while also trying to protect himself:

“I fell on top of some police shields on the ground that were slippery because of the pepper and bear spray. Rioters started to pull me by my leg, by my shield and by my gear straps on my left shoulder,” he said. “My survival instincts kicked in, and I started kicking and punching as I tried in vain to get the MPD officers’ attention behind and above me. But they could not help me because they were also being attacked.”

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