“Y’all failed.” That’s the message to Capitol rioters from one officer who stood as much as their assault and their racist abuse as he defended the constructing on January 6.
Officer Harry Dunn, a 13-year Capitol Police veteran, recalled gasping for air via pepper spray and mace throughout efforts to combat off pro-Trump supporters who had stormed the Capitol as senators sought to approve Joe Biden‘s presidential victory.
“They were terrorists,” Dunn informed ABC News, when requested concerning the rioters. “They tried to disrupt this country’s democracy—that was their goal… And you know what? Y’all failed because later that night, they went on and they certified the election.”
He stated of these concerned within the siege: “Everybody wants to say that it was about politics and everything, but it was a large number of people in that crowd that were racist.”
Dunn, who steered that the riot turned the Capitol into one thing akin to a conflict zone, informed how he was left fearing for his life and the way he confronted a torrent of racist abuse that day.
“If I can imagine what war is like, I can imagine it was like that,” he stated.
“We had our guns out—our riffles, our long-guns—and I was on this stage, and I’m thinking all these people out there, they’re armed too: they have guns on them.
“A sea of individuals, and you may’t know who you are taking a look at, which one is taking a look at you, and so they see me on the market with this rifle and I’m like ‘I’m going to get shot.'”
Amid the noisy chaos, Officer Dunn recalled seeing blood on his knuckles and the Rotunda engulfed in a “cloud of smoke,” earlier than the mob have been defeated.
“The floors are covered in white dust, water bottles, broken flagpoles, masks, empty canisters of pepper spray, helmets, Trump flags, everything in the Rotunda, just laying there on the floor,” he informed ABC News’ chief justice correspondent, Pierre Thomas.
At one level in the course of the riot, Dunn was in tears and was consoled by a colleague.
“‘I got called a [N-word] a couple dozen times today protecting this building,'” Dunn informed his colleague. “Is this America? They beat police officers with Blue Lives Matter flags. They fought us, they had Confederate flags in the U.S. Capitol.”
‘Is this America?’
That query, which Dunn first requested anonymously in a Buzzfeed article after the riot, was quoted by Rep. Jamie Raskin throughout former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.
Asked about his phrases getting used in the course of the trial, Dunn stated: “It took me back to a dark place because I didn’t say it for a catchphrase—I wasn’t trying to create a slogan.
“I wrestle… ought to I be proud? No, in no way. Those have been my emotions and that was my reality—it wasn’t a proud second. It took me again to a darkish place.”
Many officers at the Capitol that day have been widely praised for his or her courageous stand in opposition to the mob, which left a minimum of 134 of them injured. Though 35 other officers are being investigated for their conduct—one thing Capitol officers’ union have decried a “witch hunt.”
Few have acquired as a lot reward as Dunn’s fellow Capitol police officer, Eugene Goodman, who steered rioters away from the Senate chambers and helped Mitt Romney—an unpopular determine amongst many Trump supporters—away from the nearing mob.
Five individuals, together with Capitol officer Brian Sicknick, died on account of the dysfunction.
“There were dozens of Eugene Goodmans that day,” stated Dunn. “Eugene got caught on camera and I’m not surprised that he did the right thing, the brave thing, the heroic thing—there were so many Eugene Goodmans that weren’t caught on camera that day… and I’m proud to work with all of them.”
However, whereas rank-and-file officers’ efforts are being acknowledged, so too is the apparent lack of preparation among police chiefs forward of January 6.
Questions stay over how the potential for violence was not higher anticipated, with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules committees set to open a joint oversight listening to to look at safety failures later this week.
“Everybody wants to know what could have been done differently, because that shouldn’t have happened,” Dunn stated. “[I’ll] wait for the investigation to be completed officially and not draw conclusions about something of this magnitude. I’ll just leave it at that.”