Officer shares body cam footage from Capitol riot where he pleaded with crowd: ‘I have kids’

·3-min read

Capitol Police Officer MIchael Fanone was holding back insurrectionists on 6 January when one of them grabbed him, calling out “I got one” as they pulled him into the sea of rioters. Fearing what that meant, the officer offered a desperate reply.

“I've got kids,” he said.

That moment was captured by Mr Fanone's body camera and was played as part of a House select committee hearing on Tuesday investigating the Capitol riot. Mr Fanone and a number of other officers who were injured on 6 January were called to testify during the hearing.

On the day of the attack, Mr Fanone was dragged down the Capitol stairs, beaten and shocked with a stun gun. He suffered a concussion and a mild heart attack resulting from the incident. He estimates based on body camera footage that he was unconscious for four minutes during the attack.

Mr Fanone has been an outspoken critic of Republican politicians who downplayed the violence on 6 January, even traveling to the Capitol the day after 21 Republicans in the House voted against the Gold Medal resolution, which was intended to award Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police for defending the building.

During his visit, Mr Fanone encountered GOP Congressman Andrew Clyde and attempted to introduce himself. According to Mr Fanone, Mr Clyde – who likened the riot to a normal tour of the Capitol – ignored him before running away.

During the hearing, Mr Fanone called the GOP lawmakers who have attempted to brush off the riot or downplay its violence as “disgraceful”.

He went further, saying he believes that those lawmakers were responsible for inciting the riot.

“In retrospect now, thinking about those events, the things that were said, it's disgraceful members of our government, I believe were responsible for inciting that behaviour and then continue to propagate those statements, things like this was the 1776, or that police officers who fought, risked their lives in some who gave theirs wore red coats,” he said.

Capitol Police Officer Michael Fanone watches footage of the 6 January insurrection during the House select committee hearing on the Capitol riot. (screengrab)
Capitol Police Officer Michael Fanone watches footage of the 6 January insurrection during the House select committee hearing on the Capitol riot. (screengrab)

His statement specifically references a tweet made by Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who tweeted “Today is 1776” while the rioters were attacking Capitol police officers.

“To me those individuals are representative of the worst that America has to offer,” Mr Fanone told the committee.

Other officers speaking on Tuesday voiced their frustration with former President Donald Trump, who was impeached for a second time for inciting the riot. Although Mr Trump was ultimately acquitted due to Senate Republicans, many still lay the blame for the riot at his feet.

Capitol Police Sargent Aquilino Gonell was asked by Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney what he thought of Mr Trump's characterisation of the rioters as a “loving crowd”.

He called the comments “upsetting” and said that it was a “pathetic excuse for [Mr Trump's] behaviour, for something that he himself helped create.” The officer said he was “still recovering from those 'hugs and kisses' that day”.

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger and Ms Cheney were the lone GOP lawmakers to call for an end to partisan bickering over the event, urging their Republican colleagues to put partisan concerns aside and assist the investigation into the attacks.

Another Capitol Police Officer, Daniel Hodges, who was crushed between a group of body shields and a door during the riot, said he believed the attack was largely driven by white nationalists within the Republican voter base.

“The crowd was overwhelmingly white males,” he said. “People who associate with Donald Trump I find more likely to subscribe to that kind of belief system.”

The Democratic lawmakers on the committee were unrestrained in their condemnation of the rioters. Congressman Jamie Raskin called the rioters “traitors”.

“Those who attacked you and beat you are fascist traitors to our country, and will be remembered forever as fascist traitors,” he said.

So far, more than 540 Capitol rioters have been arrested, and the FBI is seeking to apprehend hundreds more.

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