tv Capitol DC Police Testify on Jan. 6 Attack CSPAN July 31, 2021 1:38am-5:26am EDT
>> a quorum present tott investigate the january 6 attack on the united states capital will be in order. the select committee with a lot enforcement experience on january 6 without objection the chairs authorized to declare the committee and resource at any time. and how as chairman i plan to run things. we will be guided solely by the facts of what happened on
january 6 and the run up to that tragic day in what has taken place in. that is what we are trying to do my house resolution 503 there's no place for politics are partisanship in thiss investigation. the only charges to follow the facts where they lead us. and we have a lot to uncover there's a few things we already know we know the insurrection on january 6 was a violent attack had a vicious assault on law enforcement we know there is evidence in a coordinated and planned attack and men and women is from the capital wanted to derail and seven people lost their lives and more than 140 people on —- police officers suffered injuries and we also know the
writers came dangerously close to succeeding if not for the hero of the united states capital police and metropolitan police department minimal lives might have been lost and then appearing here and more importantly for your heroism on january 6. you have the gratitude of this country. you held the line that day. i cannot overstate that our democracy was on the line.
and it won't be easy but history will remember your names and actions.r it's important to think about history as this committee starts its work and as we hear from these courageous men and to get answers for the american people, we need to understand our history to edunderstand the significance of what happened january 6 withua our role as members of the people's house. the house of representatives did one of its jobs laid out in the constitution carrying 36 pallets with the president of the united states but what the first peaceful transfer of
power and then struggling generations to make it a reality for all americans. and we suffered failures the peacefulur of power is a pillar of democracy that's one of the things we rely on and the safeguard we hold close because as heated and angry and divided as we may be for the upheavals we endure we can rest easy knowing when the moment comes our system guarantees that one party if that is the will of the people and while the institutions endured and joe biden is he legitimately elected president of the united states a peaceful transfer of power did not happen this year.
i did not happen. let that sink in what it sink in. a violent mob was pointed toward the capital to win a trial by come back. and with their just to overthrow the government. i want to repeatve that. we were just there to government.e and then when they encounter the police to keep a safe they went on the attack their
spray, knives, teasers, hockey sticks and flagpoles fashioned into clubs with the american flag still attached. they smashed windows, scaled walls in the city of our democracy they were going to the hallways chanting hang mike pence where is nancy. they stormed onto the senate floor because they wanted to stop the senate from certifying the election and then for the same reason thankfully some astute young staff members have the presence of mind to grab the electoral ballots for
safekeeping. the rioters were organized. they came close to succeeding it's frightening to think how close we were of a few inches of wood and glass one officer turning left instead of turning right but just describing that attack does not come close to caption what actually took place that day. so we will see what our witnesses on january 6 let's see the video please. it contains graphic images and strong language that many may find disturbing. >> hey, brother, we're boots on the ground here.
>> we want pence! >> they've gotten the gallows set outside this capitol building. it is time to start fucking using them. >> start making a list. we start hunting them down one by one! >> yeah! >> -- in your own city, your own county. take down every one of these mother fuckers. >> we don't need 30,000 guns. >> he will be back. he warned us it is just chilling thank you for our democracy and republic that was stirred this assault but that man's warning is that it
looms over our democracy like a dark cloud. some people are trying to deny what happened to whitewash it but the whole world saw the reality of what happened january 6 the hangman's gallows sitting out there on the nations mall and with that disgraced rebellion against the union to be paraded llthrough the capital and the hatred and bigotry and violence for a viola lie. those that tried to rob us of our democracy and as chairman of this committee does not have fertile ground we have to understand why and no minute
by minute how january 6 unfolded and how it has continued to undermine american democracy and we need to figure out how to fix the damage. it will be easy but i have tremendous confidence in the colleague sitting to my left and right. these are men and women ofgh courage and character. we did not ask for this but the house of representatives did its job to give the country the first peaceful transfer of power and we will do our job now to make sure the peaceful transfer of power remains a pillar of our democracy we cannot allow them to be undone by liars and cheaters. this is united states of america and my distinguish colleagues from wyoming
ms. cheney is not the ranking member but because this investigation is bipartisan, it is important we hear those voices as well now representative cheney for an opening statement. >> thank you very much chairman anna colleagues on this committee and thank youyo to each of the witnesses appeared before use today.r every american i can hear your testimony today and will watch the videos that shows the unbelievable violence any an excusable and intolerable cruelty that you all face and people need to c know the truth.
also briefly on the investigation we are launching today everybody on the dais voted for and preferred these be investigated by an independent nonpartisan commission of those selected by each party and modeled on the 9/11 commission but although such a commission was opposed by mail leadership in the house and overwhelmingly passed with the support of 35 republican members and defeated by republicans in the senate and that leaves us where we are today. we cannot leave the violence of january 6 and the cause is uninvestigated the american people deserve the fallen open testimony of every person with knowledge in the planning and preparations of january 6. and we must also know what happens every minute of that day in the white house every phone call every conversation
every meeting leading up to and during and after the attack. honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward. those responsible are not held accountable and if congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic. and at the part of our democratic system to face the threat of more violence in the months to come and another january 6 every four years. disagree on policy and politics of almost every democratic member of this committee. but inh the end and then to recognize the danger of partisan politics.
knowing that the daily arguments could become so fierce we might lose track of the most important obligation to defend the rule of our and the freedom of all americans. that is why the framers compelled each of us to swear a solemn oath to protect the constitution when a threat arises as it has here we are obligated to rise above politics this investigation must be nonpartisan. while we begin today to take the public testimony of these four heroic men we must also realize the task of this committee will require persistence we must issue a subpoena promptly and get to the subjective truth and overcome the most efforts we are already seeing to cover up and of secure the fact. days
thereafter almost all members of my party recognized the events of that day for what they actually were. one republican, for example, said, quote, what is happening at the u.s. capitol right now is unacceptable and unamerican. those participating in lawlessness and violence must be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. no member of congress should now attempt to defend the indefensible, obstruct this investigation or whitewash what happened that day. we must act with honor and duty and in the interest of our nation. america is great because we preserve our democratic institutions at all costs. until january 6th, we were proof positive for the world that a nation conceived in liberty could long endure, but now january 6th threatens our most
sacred legacy. the question for every one of us who serves in congress, for every elected official across this great nation, indeed for every american is this, will we adhere to the rule of law? will we respect the rulings of our courts? will we preserve the peaceful transition of power? or will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of america? do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our constitution? i pray that that is not the case. the pray that we all remember our children are watching. as we carry out this solemn and sacred duty entrusted to us, our children will know who stood for truth and they will inherit the nation we hand to them. a republic, if we can keep t
thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you, representative cheney. i will now introduce our witnesses. we're joined today by sergeant aquilino gonell of the capitol police. he is a 15-year veteran of the capitol police, he was assigned to a first responder unit in the united states capitol police's uniformed services bureau. before joining the capitol police sergeant gonell served eight years in the united states army and spent 545 days in iraq where his base was under constant mortar, rocket and indirect fire by insurgents. he has received multiple awards and commendations for his military service. we are also joined by officer michael fanone of the metropolitan police department in washington, d.c. officer fanone began his law enforcement career with the
united states capitol police, shortly after the terrorist attack of 9/11. for nearly 20 years officer fanone has served the citizens of the district of columbia in special units focusing on narcotics investigation and violent criminals. officer daniel hodges is a member of the civil disturbance unit 42 in the d.c. metropolitan police department where his responsibilities include riot response. prior to his service on the metropolitan police department, he served six years in the 116th infantry regimen, third battalion as an indirect fire infantryman. u.s. capitol police officer harry dunn is a 13-year veteran of the united states capitol police and a member of its first responder unit. his responsibilities include ensuring the integrity of the perimeter around the capitol building. officer dunn has been among the
first capitol police officers described what happened to law enforcement on january 6th. i will now swear in our witnesses. the witnesses will please rise and raise their right hand. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you. you may be seated. let the record reflect the witnesses answered in the affirmative. without objection, the witnesses' full statement will be included in the record. i now recognize sergeant gonell to summarize his testimony. >> good morning, everybody. >> good morning. >> chairman thompson, members -- members of the select committee, thank you for the opportunity to
testify regarding the attack on the u.s. capitol on january 6th, 2021. it is with honor and heavy heart that i come before you to tell you my story. from a painful firsthand experience what happened that terrible day at the capitol. providing this testimony solely in my personal capacity and not as a representative of the u.s. capitol. it is imperative that the events of january 6th are fully investigated and that congress and the american people know the truth of what actually occurred and that all those responsible are held accountable, particularly to ensure the horrific and shameful event in our history never repeats itself. i applaud you for pursuing this objective. even though there's overwhelming evidence to the contrary, including hours and hours of
videos and photographic coverage, there is a continued shocking attempt to ignore or try to destroy the truth of what truly happened that day, and to whitewash the facts into something other than what they unmistakenly reveal, an attack on our democracy by violent domestic extremists and a stain on our history and or moral standing here at home and abroad. as a child in the dominican republic, i looked up to the united states as the land of opportunity and a place to better myself. from that moment i landed at jfk in 1992 i have tried to pursue that goal. thankfully, i achieved that goal on many levels. i was the first in my family to graduate college, join the army and become a police officer.
on july 23rd, 1999, the day before my 21st birthday, i raised my hand and swore to protect the constitution of the united states. because this country gave me an opportunity to become anything that i wanted. at that time i already started basic training with the army reserves. in fact, i raised my hand several times in ceremony -- ceremonies to pledge my commitment to defend and protect the constitution of the united states. when i joined the army reserves, when i was promoted to sergeant while in the army, when i was promoted during my naturalization ceremony and my reenlistment in the army. when i joined the united states
capitol police and lastly when i was promoted to sergeant three years ago. i have always taken my oath seriously. on january 6th, 2021, i fulfilled my oath once more, this time to defend the u.s. -- united states capitol and members of congress carrying out their constitutional duties to certify the results of the november 2020 presidential election. to be honest, i did not recognize my fellow citizens who stormed the capitol on january 6th or the united states that they claimed to represent. when i was 25 years old, then a sergeant in the army, i had deployed to iraq for operation iraqi freedom. from time to time i volunteered to travel on ied-infested roads to conduct supply missions for u.s. and allied forces and the
local iraqi population as well, but on january 6th for the first time i was more afraid to work at the capitol than my entire deployment to iraq. in iraq we expected violence because we were in a war zone, but nothing in my experience in the army or as a law enforcement officer prepared me for what we confronted on january 6. the verbal assaults and disrespect we endured from the rioters were bad enough. i was falsely accused of betraying my oath, of choosing my paycheck -- choosing my paycheck over my loyalty to the u.s. constitution, even as i defended the very democratic process that protected everyone in the hostile crowd. while i was at the low terrace of the capitol working with my
fellow officers to prevent the breach and restore order, the rioters called me traitor, a disgrace and shouted that i -- i, an army veteran and a police officer, should be executed. some of the rioters had the audacity to tell me that it was nothing personal, that they would go through me, through us, police officers, to achieve their goal as they were breaking metal barriers to use as weapons against us. they used more menacing language. if you shoot us, we all have weapons, we will shoot back. or, we will get our guns. we outnumber you, they say. join us. i heard specific threats to the lives of speaker nancy pelosi
and then also vice president mike pence. but the physical violence we experienced was horrific and devastating, my fellow officers and i were punched, 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 to their attempt to insurrection. the mob brought weapons to try to accomplish their insurrectionist objectives and used them against us. these weapons included hammers, rebars, knives, baton and police shields taken by force, as well as bear spray and pepper spray. some of the rioters wore tactical gear including bulletproof vests and gas masks.
the rioters also forcibly took our batons and shields to use them against us. i was particularly shocked at seeing the insurrectionists violently attack us with the very american flag that they claimed to -- sought to protect. based on the tactics we observed and verbal commands we heard it appears that many of these attackers had law enforcement or military experience. the rioters were relentless. we found ourselves in a violent battle, desperate to attempt to prevent the breach of the capitol near the integration stage. metropolitan police officers were being pulled into the crowd. we have one right here right next to me. as we tried to push the rioters
back from breaching the capitol in my attempt to assist two mpd officers i grabbed one by -- the officer by the back of the collar and pulled him back to the police line. when i tried to help the second officer, i fell on top of some police shields on the ground that were slippery because of the pepper spray and bear spray. the rioters immediately began to pull me by my legs, by my shield, by my strap on my left shoulder. my survivor instincts kicked in and i started kicking and judging as i tried to get the mpd officer behind and above me, but they could not help me because they also were being attacked. i finally was able to hit the rioter who was grabbing me with my baton and i believe to stand and then i continued to fend off
new attackers as they kept rotating and attacking us again and again. what we were subjected that day was like something from a medieval battle. we fought hand to hand, inch by inch to prevent an invasion of the capitol by a mob intent on subverting our democratic process. my fellow officers and i were committed to not letting any rioters breach the capitol. it was for a prolonged and desperate struggle. the rioters attempted to breach the capitol were shooting trump. pick the right side. we want trump. i hear officers screaming in
agony, in pain, just an arm's length from me. i didn't know at that time but that was officer hodges and he's here today to testify. i, too, was being crushed by the rioters. i could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, this is how i'm going to die, defending this entrance. many of the officers fighting alongside me were calling for shields because their shields had been stripped from them by the rioters. i was one of the few officers left with a shield so i spent the majority of my time at the front of the line. i later find out that my wife and relatives were here in the u.s. and abroad were franticly
calling and texting me from 2:00 p.m. onward because they were watching the turmoil on television. it was not until 4:26 p.m. after giving cpr to one of the rioters who breached the capitol in an effort to save her life that i finally had a chance to let my own family know that i was alive. after order had finally -- had been restored at the capitol and many hours i arrived at home at nearly 4:00 a.m. on january 7th. i had to push my wife away from me because she wanted to hug me
and i told her, no, because of all the chemical that my uniform had on. i'm sorry. i couldn't sleep because the chemical reactivated after i took a shower and my skin was burning. i finally fell asleep two hours later, completely physically and mentally exhausted, yet by 8:00 a.m. i was already back -- on my way back to the capitol. and i continued to work for 15 consecutive days until after the inauguration. i made sure to work despite my injuries because i wanted to
continue doing my job and help secure the capitol complex. more than six months later i'm still trying to recover from my injuries. many of my fellow capitol officers, as well as mpd officers suffered several physical injuries from the violence inflicted on us on january 6th. i sustained injuries on both my hands, my left shoulder, my left calf and my right foot. i have already had infusion surgery on my right foot and i was just told that i need surgery on my left shoulder. i've been on medical and administrative leave for much of the past six months and i expect to need further rehabilitation for possibly more than a year.
there are some who express outrage when someone kneels while calling for social justice. where are those same people expressing the outrage to condemn the violent attack on law enforcement, the capitol and our american democracy? i'm still waiting for them. as americans and the world watched in horror what was happening at the capitol we did not receive timely reinforcement and support we needed. in contrast during the black lives matter protest last year u.s. capitol police had all the support we needed and more. why the different response? were it not for the brave members of the mpd and later on from other law enforcement agencies i'm afraid to think what could have happened on january 6th.
i want to publicly thank all the law enforcement agencies that responded to assist that day, for their courage and their support. i especially want to thank those capitol police officers who responded on their own from home after working midnight shift. despite being outnumbered, we did our job. every member of the house of representatives, senators and staff members made it home. sadly, as a result of that day we lost officers, some really good officers, but we held the line to protect our democratic process because the alternative would have been a disaster. we are not asking for medals, recognition. we simply want justice and accountability. for most people january 6th happened for a few hours, but
for those -- for those of us who were in the thick of it, it has not ended. that day continues to be a constant trauma for us literally every day, whether because our physical or emotional injuries or both. has received much attention sadly many of my colleagues have resigned from the capitol because of that day. i'm also regularly called by law enforcement officials and prosecutors to help identify from photographs and videos the rioters, and to be honest physical therapy a painful and hard. i could have lost my life that day not once, but many times. but as soon as i recover from my injuries, i will continue
forward and proudly serve my country in the u.s. capitol police. as an immigrant to the united states, i'm especially proud to have defended the u.s. constitution and our democracy on january 6th. everyone in a position of authority in our country has the courage and conviction to do their part by investigating what happened on that terrible day and why. this investigation is essential to our democracy and i'm deeply grateful to you for undertaking it. i'm happy to assist as i can and answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability. thank you. >> thank you very much for your riveting testimony, sergeant gonell. i now recognize officer fanone to summarize his testimony.
>> thank you, mr. chairman, and members of this committee, for inviting me to provide my eyewitness testimony of the violent assault on our nation's capitol on january 6, 2021. my name for those of you who don't know is michael fanone and while i've been a sworn officer with the metropolitan police department in washington, d.c. for almost two decades, my law enforcement career actually began here in this building as a united states capitol police officer shortly after 9/11. in part because of the 2001 attack on our country by terrorists i felt called to serve. as a capitol police officer i was proud to protect this constitution and dedicated members of congress and their staff who work hard each day to uphold our american democracy. i remain proud of the work of the united states capitol police and mpd officers who literally commit their lives to protecting the safety of each of you and
all of us in this room in our nation's capitol. after leaving the united states capitol police i became an mpd officer serving the residents of washington, d.c. i have spent the majority of my nearly 20 years as a metropolitan police officer working in special mission units whose responsibilities include the investigation and arrest of narcotics traffickers and violent criminals. i've worked both as an undercover officer and a lead case officer in many of these investigations. in this line of work it probably won't shock you to know that i've dealt with some dicey situations. i thought i had seen it all, many times over, yet what i witnessed and experienced on january 6, 2021, was unlike anything i had ever seen. anything i had ever experienced or could have imagined in my
country. on that day i participated in the defense of the united states capitol from an armed mob, an armed mob, of thousands determined to get inside. because i was among the vastly outnumbered group of law enforcement officers protecting the capitol and the people inside it, i was grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country. i was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm as i heard chants of kill him with his own gun. i could still hear those words in my head today. although i regularly deal with risky situations on the job, nowhere in my wildest imagination did i ever expect to be in that situation or sitting here before you talking about it. that experience and its aftermath were something that not even my extensive law enforcement training could prepare me for.
i was just one of hundreds of local police who lined up to protect congress, even though i had not been assigned to do that. some had asked why we ran to help when we didn't have to. did i that because i simply could not ignore what was happening. like many other officers, i could not ignore the numerous calls, numerous calls for help coming from the capitol complex. i am a plain clothes officer assigned to the first district's crime suppression team, but for the first time in nearly a decade i put on my uniform. when my partner jimmy allbright and i arrived at the capitol at around 3:00 that afternoon it was unlike any scene i had ever witnessed. jimmy parked our police vehicle near the intersection of south capitol street and d street in southeast and we walked to the capitol. from there passing the long
worth house office building. it was eerily quiet and the sidewalks, usually filled with pedestrians, were empty. as we made our way to independence avenue i could see dozens of empty police vehicles that filled the street, police barricades which had been abandoned and hundreds of angry protesters, many of whom taunted us as we walked towards the capitol building. jimmy and i immediately began to search for an area where we could be of most assistance. we made our way through a door on the south side of the capitol, walking then to the crypt and finally down to the lower west terrace tunnel. it was there that i observed a police commander struggling to breathe as he dealt with the effects of cs gas that lingered in the air. then i watched him collect himself, straighten his cap and french coat adorned with its silver eagles and return to the
line. that commander was raily kyle of the metropolitan police department and those images are etched into my memory never to be forgotten. in the midst of that intense and chaotic scene commander kyle remained cool, calm and collected as he gave commands to his officers. hold the line he shouted over the roar. of course, that day, the line was the seat of our american government, despite the confusion and stress of the situation observing ray's leadership, protecting a place i cared so much about was the most inspirational moment of my life. the bravery he and others showed that day are the best examples of duty, honor and service. each of us who carries a badge should bring those core values to our work every day. the fighting in the lower west terrace tunnel was nothing short of brutal. here i observed approximately 30
police officers standing shoulder to shoulder, maybe four or five abreast, using the weight of their bodies to hold back the onslaught of violent attackers. many of these officers were injured, bleeding, and fatigued, but they continued to hold the line. as i don't have to tell the members in this room, the tunnel is a narrow and long hallway, it is not the sort of space anyone would want to be pulled into hand to hand combat with an angry mob. although the narrowness of the hallway provided what was probably the only chance of holding back the crowd from entering your personal offices, the house and senate chambers. in an attempt to assist the injured officers jimmy and i asked them if they needed a break. there were no volunteers. selflessly those officers only identified other colleagues who may be in need of assistance.
the fighting dragged on. i eventually joined the tactical line at the tunnel's entrance. i can remember looking around and being shocked by the shear number of people fighting us. as my police body worn camera shows, thousands upon thousands of people seemingly determined to get past us by any means necessary. at some point during the fighting i was dragged from the line of officers and into the crowd. i heard someone scream "i got one." as i was swarmed by a violent mob they ripped off my badge, they grabbed and stripped me of my radio, they seized ammunition that was secured to my body, they began to beat me with their fists and with what felt like hard metal objects. at one point i came face to face with an attacker who repeatedly lunged for me and attempted to remove my firearm. i heard chapting from some in
the crowd "get his gun" and "kill him with his own gun." i was aware enough to recognize i was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm. i was electrocuted again and again and again with a taser. i'm sure i was screaming, but i don't think i could even hear my own voice. my body camera captured the violence of the crowd directed toward me during those very frightening moments. it's an important part of the record for this committee's investigation and for the country's understanding of how i was assaulted and nearly killed as the mob attacked the capitol that day. and i hope that everyone will be able to watch it. the portions of the video i've seen remained extremely painful for me to watch at times, but it is essential that everyone understands what really happened that tragic day. during those moments i remember
thinking there was a very good chance i would be torn apart or shot to death with my own weapon. i thought of my four daughters who might lose their dad. i remain grateful that no member of congress had to go through the violent assault that i experienced that day. during the assault i thought about using my firearm on my attackers, but i knew that if i did i would be quickly overwhelmed, and that in their minds would provide them with the justification for killing me so i instead decided to appeal to any humanity they might have. i said as loud as i could manage "i've got kids." thankfully some in the crowd stepped in and assisted me. those few individuals protected me from a crowd and inched me toward the capitol until my fellow officers could rescue me. i was carried back inside.
what happened afterwards is much less vivid. i had been beaten unconscious and remained so for more than four minutes. i know that jimmy helped to evacuate me from the building and drove me to med star washington hospital center. despite suffering significant injuries himself. at the hospital doctors told me that i had suffered a heart attack, that i was later diagnosed with a concussion, a traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder. as my physical injuries gradually subsided and the adrenaline that had stayed with me for weeks waned, i've been left with the psychological trauma and the emotional anxiety of having survived such a horrific event and my children continue to deal with the trauma of nearly losing their dad that day. what makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people i put my life at risk to defend,
are down playing or outright denying what happened. i feel like i went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room, but too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist or that hell actually wasn't that bad. the indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful. my law enforcement career prepared me to cope with some of the aspects of this experience, being an officer you know your life is at risk whenever you walk out the door, even if you don't expect otherwise law abiding citizens to take up arms against you, but nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day, and in doing so betray their oath of
office. those very members whose lives, offices, staff members i was fighting so desperately to defend. i agreed to speak here today and have talked publicly about what happened because i don't think our response to the insurrection should have anything to do with political parties. i know that what my partner jimmy and i suited up for on january 6th didn't have anything to do with political parties or about politics or what political party any of you public servants belong to. i have worked in this city for two decades and i have never cared about those things, no matter who was in office. all i have ever cared about is protecting you and the public. so you can do your job in
service to this country and for those whom you represent. i appreciate your time and attention. i look forward to the committee's investigation and i am hopeful with your commitment we as a country will confront the truth of what happened on january 6th and do what is necessary to make sure this institution of our democracy never falls into the hands of a violent and angry mob. we must also recognize the officers who responded that day, many unsolicited, and their countless acts of bravery and selflessness. it has been 202 days since 850 mpd officers responded to the capitol and helped stop a violent insurrection from taking over this capitol complex, which almost certainly saved countless members of congress and their staff from injury and possibly death. the time to fully recognize these officers is now.
thank you again for the opportunity to provide my testimony here today. >> thank you very much for your testimony. i don't think there's any question you have our commitment that we will do just that as a committee. >> thank you. >> i now recognize officer hodges to summarize his testimony. >> good morning to the committee, members of the press and to the country. to the members of the committee i'd like to thank you for your invitation today to provide my account of my knowledge and experiences from january 6th, 2021. as the chairman mentioned, i'm a member of civil disturbance unit 42 and was working in that capacity on the day in question. we started that day at 7:30 a.m. and our assignment at the time was to maintain high visibility along constitution avenue, namely the blocks leading up to president's park where then president donald trump was holding his gathering.
my particular station was in front of 1111 constitution avenue where i stood on foot as the crowd poured down the street and into the park. there were a significant number of men dressed in tactical gear attending the gathering, wearing ballistic vests, helmets, goggles, military face masks, backpacks and without identifiable visible law enforcement or military patches they appeared to be prepared for much more than listening to politicians speak in a park. two of my colleagues were approached by a group of three to four such men, they were white men in good shape with load bearing vests equipped with molly pouches, wearing dbus, tactical boots, black sunglasses and short haircuts, they had radios and one was equipped with an earpiece. after a bit of small talk one of them asked my colleague something to the effect of is this all the manpower you have? do you really think you're going to be able to stop all these people? dumbfounded my colleague simply
expressed they didn't understand what the speaker meant and the group continued on. as the day went on and speakers in the park said their peace, i monitored the crowd and the radio. over the radio i heard our gun recovery unit working constantly, monitoring those in the crowds suspected of carrying firearms, making arrests and seizures when possible. multiple gun arrests were made from january 5th through the 7th that likely attended or planned to attend donald trump's gathering. unfortunately due to the course of events that day we will never know exactly how many were carrying firearms and other lethal weapons. i don't know what time it was, but eventually the flow of -- the foot traffic reversed with people leaving president's park and traveling eastbound down constitution avenue towards the united states capitol. at approximately 12:30 p.m. i noticed a commotion about half a block to my east and i saw the crowd starting to coalesce around two figures. i ran to where they were and found a confrontation at the intersection of 10th and constitution avenue northwest.
one counterprotester, a black man was peddling away from a white man with a trump labeled facemask who was closely following him with an outstretched arm. my colleague and i separated the two but a crowd of donald trump's people gathered and they were shouting insults such as your mother is a whore and accusing of hiding behind the cops. eventually enough mpd members had gathered to move along the crowd who continued eastbound toward the capitol building and the counterprotester departed northbound on 10th street. returning to my post i continued to monitor the radio, i could hear commander glover leading the efforts at the capitol as the protesters began their transition from peaceful assembly into terrorism. i became agitated and wished we could move in to support as i could hear the increasing desperation in the commander's voice, yet we still had to wait for our orders to change and eventually they did. at approximately 1:30 p.m. the
command authorized rapid response blah toons to respond to the capitol including cdu 42. the last thing i remember hearing over the air before departing for the capitol grounds was confirmation that our explosive ordinance team had discovered a device, again, being associated with the device i immediately realized mpd discovered a bomb of some type near the capitol. this thought was never far from my mind for the rest of the day. we ran back to our vans and got on our hard gear as quickly as we could. navigating alternate routes to avoid the foot traffic we drove as close adds we could to the capitol, disembarking at the northwest side of the capitol grounds. we gave our gear a final check and marched towards the west stairs. the crowd was thinner the further out from the capitol you were, so as we marched the resistance that we initially met with was verbal, a man yelled here come the boys in blue, so
brave. another called us on us to remember your oath. there was plenty of booing. a woman called us storm troopers, another woman who was part of the mob of terrorists laying siege to the capitol of the united states shouted traitors. more found appeal in this label and shouted traitors at us as we passed. one man attempted to turn and do a sill lab bic chant and we continued to march. we had been marching in two columns but as we got closer to the west terrace the crowd became so dense that in order to progress we marched single file with the hands on the shoulders of the man in front of us in order to avoid separation, however, as we came close to the terrorist our line was divided and we came under attack. a man attempted to rip the baton from my hands ands we wrestled for control. i retained my weapon, he yelled at me "you're on the wrong team." cut off from my leadership which is at the front of our formation we huddled up and assessed the threat surrounding us. one man tried and failed to
build a rapport with me shouting "are you my brother"? another shouting "you will die on your knees." i was at the front of our group and determined we had to push our way through the crowd in order to join the defense proper so i began shouting make way as i forged ahead, hoping that i'm clearing a path for others behind me to follow. however, as i looked back i saw that the rest of the group came under attack and were unable to follow. the crowd attempted to physically bar the rest of the platoon from following. i backtracked and started pulling the terrorists off my team from their backpacks and collars. around this time one of the terrorists who had scaled the scaffolding that adorned the capitol at the time threw something heavy down at me and struck me in the head, disorienting me. i suspect this resulted in the likely concussion i dealt with in the weeks after. another man attempted to disarm me and my baton and, again, we wrestled for control.
he kicked me in my chest as we went to the ground, i was able to retain my baton again but i ended up on my hands and knees and blind. the medical mask i was wearing at the time to protect myself from the coronavirus was pulled up over my eyes so i couldn't see. i braced myself against the impact of their blows and feared the worst. thankfully my platoon had repelled their own attackers and got me back on my feet. the crowd started chanting u.s.a. at us and we struck out again for the west terrace. i led the charge through the midst of crowd control munitions, explosions and smoke engulfing the area, terrorists were breaking apart the metal fencing and bike racks into individual pieces presumably to use at weapons. thankfully we made it so the secondary defense line on the west terrace. the rest of my platoon got behind the line and we could take stock of the situation. i realized back during the previous assault someone had stolen my radio.
from that point on i was in the dark as to our current status, when reinforcements would arrive. terrorists were on the scaffolding and attempt to go breach the waist high metal fencing that was the only barrier we had aside from ourselves. the sea of people was punctuated throughout by flags, mostly variations of american flags and trump flags. there was gadsen flags, it was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be christians, i saw the christian flag directly to my front, another read jesus is my savior, trump is my president. another jesus is king. one flag read don't give up the ship. another had cross-rifles beneath a skull emblazoned with the pattern of the american flag. to my perpetual confusion i saw the thin blue line flag, the symbol of support for law enforcement more than once being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us. the sting of cs gas or tear gas
and oc spray which is mace hung in the air as the terrorists threw their own cs -- through our own cs gas canisters back at us and sprayed us with their own oc either they bought themselves or stole from us. later i learned at least one of them was spraying us in the face with wasp spray. the terrorists alternated between attempt to go break our defense and shouting at or attempting to convert us. men alleging to be veterans told us how they had fought for this country and were fighting for it again. one man tried to start a chant of four more years. another shouted do not attack us, we are not black lives matter, as if political affiliation is how we determine when to use force. a man and n. a qanon hoodie explains this is the time to choose which side of history to be on. a man whose shirt read god, guns and trump stood behind him silently holding a trump flag. a new man came to the front and fixated on me, telling me to
take off my gear and give it to him to show solidarity we the people or we're going to run over you, his voice cracked with the strain and volume of the stress. he continued "do you think your little pea shooter guns are going to stop this crowd" "no, we're going in that building." eventually there was a surge in the crowd, the fence buckled and broke apart and we were unable to hold the line. a chaotic melee ensued, terrorists pushed through the line and engaged us in hand to hand combat. several attempted to knock me over and steal my baton. one latched on to my face and got his thumb in my criteria tempting to gouge it out. i cried out in pain and imaged to shake him off. i managed to shake him off before any permanent damage was done. i couldn't fully engage anyone, for the moment i do is when another 20 terrorists move in to attack while mice hands were full. it was all we could do to keep
ourselves on our feet and continue to fall back. i was sprayed with a fire extinguisher and a red smoke grenade burns at our feet. in the fight a terrorist is knocked to the ground and his jacked rides up exposing a large hunting knife on his belt. i along with several other officers piled on him while another removed the knife from his person. he regained himself unarmed and shouts "what are you doing?" "what are you guys doing?" at this point the terrorists had claimed most of the western terrorist cornering myself and other officers on the south edge. we found a side stair up to an upper landing followed by more stairs up and inside. inside the capitol building officers walked through the halls briefly until they found a place to sit to decontaminate their faces and take a quick breather. i followed suit. i managed to find a package of water bottles and was passing them out. i washed off my face as best i
could, rinsed out my mouth and drank the rest. took the opportunity of relative safety to dawn my gas mask. i heard someone calling for officers to move to assist. i steeld myself for another round and descended the stairway into a long hallway filled with smoke and screams. the capitol building is labyrinthian but i could tell this hallway led outside to where the terrorists had forced our retreat. officers were stacked deep but every so often one would fall back from the front line nursing an injury or struggling to breathe and those who remained would take a step forward. it was a battle of inches with one side pushing the other a few and the other side regaining their ground. at the time i and i suspect many others in the hallway did not know that the terrorists had gained entry into the building by breaking indoors and windows elsewhere so we believed to be the last line of defense before the terrorists had true access to the building and potentially our elected representatives. eventually it was my turn in the meat grinder that was the front
line. the terrorists had a wall of shield they had stolen from officers as well as stolen batons and what other arm mts they brought, even during this intense contest of wills they tried to convert us to our cult. one man shouted we all just want to make our voices heard and i think you feel the same. i think you really feel the same. all while another man attempts to batter us with a stolen shield. another man like many others didn't seem to appreciate that this wasn't a game. he fought his way across the lawn, up the steps, through the western terrace, all the oc and cs gas and at the front line of this final threshold was asking us to hold on because he had asthma. the two sides were at a stalemate at a metal door frame that sat in the middle of the who will way. i inserted myself so the frame was at my back in order to give myself something to brace against and provide additional strength when pushing forward. unfortunately soon after i secured this position the momentum shifted and we lost the ground that got me there.
on my left was a man with a clear shield stolen during the assault, he slammed it against me and with all the weight of the bodies pushing behind him trapped me. my arms were pinned and effectively useless, trapped against the shield on my left or the door frame on my right with my posture granting me to functional strength or freedom of movement i was defenseless and gradually sustaining injuries from the increasing pressure of the mob. directly in front of me a man seized the opportunity of my vulnerability, grabbed the front of my gas mask and used it to beat my head against the door, he switched to pulling it off my head, the straps stretching against my skull and straining my neck. he never uttered any words but opted instead for guttural screams. i remember him foaming at the mouth. he also put his cellphone in the mouth so he had both hands free to assault me. eventually he succeeded in stripping away my gas mask and a
new rush of exposure to cs and oc spray exposed me. the mob of terrorists were shouting heave, ho and they pushed their way forward. a man in front of me grabbed my baton that i held am my hands, i was unable to retain my weapon. he bashed me in the face and head with it. at this point i knew i couldn't sustain much more damage and remain upright. at best i would collapse and be a liability to my colleagues, at worst be dragged out into the crowd and lynched. unable to move or otherwise signal the officers behind me that i needed to fall back i did the only thing that i could do and screamed for help. thankfully my voice was heard over the yells and blaring alarm. the officer closest to me was able to extricate me from my position and another helped me
fall back to the building again. i had found some more water and decontaminated my face as best i could. i don't know how long i waited in the halls for, but soon after i got back in on my feet and went to where the fight was again. until reinforcements arrived every able body made a difference. without my gas mask i was afraid i would be a liability in the hallway so i took the exit outside at the upper landing above the west terrace. i found the police line being held and the terrorists encircling us much like on the west terrace lower. it was getting later in the day, however, and it appeared we weren't the only ones getting tired, it seemed most of the mob was content to yell rather than try to break our line again. after some time of guarding the upper landing i saw reinforcements arrive, i'm not sure what law enforcement agency it was but i turned to them and started clapping as it was a sign that badly needed help was starting to finally arrive. soon after that i started feeling the effects of the day
taking their toll and went back inside to rest. gradually all the members of cd 42 gathered in the room known as the capitol crypt, we checked on each other and convalesced, glad to see each other in one piece. despite our exhaustion we would have ran out in the fight again should the need have arisen. thankfully as the day wore on more and more resources had arrived at the capitol to drive off the terrorists. we stayed in the crypt until quite late. even after we were allowed to leave the grounds we didn't get to go home. those who needed immediate medical attention took a van to the local hospital while the rest of us parked near the city center until the city was deemed secure enough for us to check off. i believe we finally got that message around 1:00 a.m. the following morning. we drove back to the 4th district and from there went home. thank you for letting me testify. >> thank you very much for your testimony. and i will now recognize officer
dunn to summarize his testimony. >> chairman thompson, members of the select committee, thank you for the opportunity today to give my account regarding the events of january 6, 2021 from my firsthand experience as a capitol police officer directly involved in those events and still hurting from what happened that day. i am providing this testimony solely in my personal capacity and not as a representative of the united states capitol police. before i begin -- before i begin, i'd like to take a moment of my time to request for a moment of silence for my fallen colleague officer brian sicknick who died from injuries he
sustained in the line of duty defending the capitol of our beloved democracy. [ moment of silence ] >> thank you. i reported for duty at the capitol as usual early on the morning of january 6. we understood that the vote to certify president biden's election would be taking place that day and protests might occur outside the capitol. but we expected any demonstrations to be peaceful expressions of first amendment freedoms, just like the scores of demonstrations we had observed for many years. after roll call i took my overwatch post on the east front of the capitol, standing on the steps that led up to the senate chamber. as the morning progressed i did not see or hear anything that gave me cause for alarm, but around 10:56 a.m. i received a text message from a friend
forwarding a screenshot of what appeared to be the potential plan of action, very different from a peaceful demonstration. the screenshot bore the caption "january 6 rally point lincoln park." and said the objective was the capitol. it said amongst other things that trump has given us marching orders and to keep your guns hidden. it urged people to bring your trauma kits and gas masks to link up early in the day in six to 12-man teams. it indicated that there would be time to arm up. seeing that message caused me concern. to be sure looking back now it seemed to foreshadow what happened later. at the time, though, we had not
received any threat warnings from our chain of command. i had no independent reason to believe that violence was headed our way. as the morning progressed and the crowd of protesters began to swell on the east side of the capitol, many displaying trump flags, the crowd was chanting slogans like "stop the steal" and "we want trump." but the demonstration was still being conducted in a peaceful manner. earlier that afternoon capitol police dispatch advised all units over the radio that we had an active 10-100 at the republican national committee nearby. 10-100 is police code for suspicious package which is a potential bomb. that radio dispatch got my attention and i started to get more nervous and worried, especially because the crowds on the east front of the capitol were continuing to grow. around the same time i started
receiving reports on the radio about charge crowd movement. there was a direct -- capitol. i quickly put on a steel chest plate which weighs approximately weighs approximately 20 pounds. carrying my rifle, sprinted around the north side of the capitol to the west terrace and the railing of the inaugural stage where i had a broad view of what was going on. i was stunned by what i saw. what seemed like a sea of people, capitol police officers and metropolitan police officers
were engaged in desperate, hand-to-hand fighting with rioters across the west lawn. until then, i had never seen anyone physically assault capitol police or mpd, let alone witness mass assaults being perpetrated on law enforcement officers. i witnessed the rioters using all kinds of weapons against officers, including flag poles, metal bike racks they had torn apart and various kind of projectiles. officers were being bloodied in the fighting. many were screaming and many were blinded and coughing from chemical irritants being sprayed in their faces. i gave decontamination aid to as many officers as i could, flushing their eyes with water to dilute the chemical irritants. soon after i heard, attention all units, rioters were
in various places inside the building. i rushed with another officer to the basement on the senate side where i heard an mpd officer needed a defibrilator. i saw rioters who had invaded the capitol carrying a confederate flag, a red maga flag and a don't tread on me flag. i decided to stand my ground there to prevent any rioters from heading down the stairs to the lower west terrace entrance, because that's where officers were getting decontamination aid and were particularly vulnerable. at the top of the stairs i con fronted a group of insurrectionists warning them don't go back down the steps.
one of them shouted "keep moving, patriots." another one displayed what looked like a law enforcement badge and told me, we're doing this for you. one of the invaders approached me like he was going to try to get past me and head down the stairs. i hit him, knocking him down. after getting relieved by other officers in the crypt, i took off running upstairs towards the speaker's lobby and helped the plain clothes officer who was getting hassled by insurrectionists. some of them were dressed like members of a militia group, wearing tactical vests, cargo pants and body armor. i was physically exhausted and it was hard to breathe and to see because of all the chemical spray in the air. more and more insurrectionists were pouring into the area by
the speakers lobby near the rotunda, some wearing maga hats and shirts that read trump 2020. i told them to leave the capitol. in response they yelled, no, man, this is our house, president trump invited us here, we're here to stop the steal, joe biden is not the president, nobody voted for joe biden. i'm a law enforcement officer and i do my best to keep politics out of my job, but in this circumstance i responded, well, i voted for joe biden, does my vote not count? am i nobody? that prompted a torrent of racial epithets. one woman in a pink maga shirt yelled "you hear that guys, this nigger voted for joe biden." then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming
"boo fucking nigger." no one had ever, ever called me a nigger while wearing the uniform of a capitol police officer. in the days following the attempted insurrection, other black officers shared with me their own stories of racial abuse on january 6th. one officer told me he had never in his entire 40 years of life been called a nigger to his face and that streak ended on january 6th. yet another black officer later told me he had been confronted by insurrectionists in the capitol who told him, put your gun down and we'll show you what kind of nigger you really are. to be candid, the rest of the afternoon is a blur,s but i know i went throughout the capitol to assist officers who needed aid and help expel more
insurrectionists. in the crypt, i encountered sergeant gunnel who was giving assistance to an unconscious woman. i helped to carry her to the house majority leader's office where she was administered cpr. as the afternoon wore on, i was completely drained,both physically and emotionally and in shock and total disbelief over what had happened. once the building was cleared, i went to the rotunda to recover with other officers and share our experiences from what happened that afternoon. representative rodney davis was there offering support to officers. when he and i saw each other, he came over and he gave me a big hug. i sat down on the bench in the rotunda with a friend of mine, who is also a black capitol police officer and told him about the racial slurs i endured. i became very emotional and
began yelling "how the blank could something like this happen? is this america"? . i began sobbing. other officers came over to help me. later on january 6th, after order and security had been restored in the capitol through the hard work and sacrifices of law enforcement, members took the floor of the house to speak out about what had happened that day. among them was house minority leader kevin mccarthy, who along with my fellow officers, i had protected that day and will protect today and tomorrow. i had protected that day and will protect today and tomorrow. the minority leader, to his great credit, said the following
to the house, "the violence, destruction and chaos we saw earlier was unacceptable, undemocratic and un-american. it was the saddest day i have ever had serving in this institution." members of the select committee, the minority leader was absolutely right, how he described what took place in the capitol. for those of us in the capitol police who serve and revere this institution and who love the capitol building, it was the saddest day for us as well. more than six months later, january 6th still isn't over for me. i've had to avail myself of multiple counselling sessions from the capitol police employee assistance program and i'm now receiving private counselling therapy for the persistent
emotional drama of that day. i've also participated in many peer support programs with fellow law enforcement officers from around the united states. i know so many other officers continue to hurt, both physically and emotionally. i want to take this moment to speak to my fellow officers about the emotions they continue to experience from the events of january 6th. there's absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counselling. what we went through that day was traumatic. if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counselling services that are available to us. i also respectfully ask that this select committee review the available resources, the services available to us and consider whether they are sufficient enough to meet our needs, especially with respect to the amount of leave that we are allowed. in closing, we can never again allow democracy to be put in
peril as it was on january 6th. i thank the members of the select committee for your commitment to determine what led to disaster at the capitol on january 6th, what actually took place that day and what steps should be taken to prevent such an attack on our democracy from ever happening again. i also want to thank and acknowledge my brothers and sisters in blue who fought alongside me on january 6th to protect our democracy. each of you is a hero and it is my honor to serve with you each and every day. i'd like to thank the american people for all of the support they have provided these past several months to me and my fellow officers. lastly, to the rioters, the insurrectionists and the terrorists of that day, democracy went on that night and still continues to exist today.
democracy is bigger than any one person and any one party. you all tried to disrupt democracy that day and you all failed. thank you again for the opportunity to testify and i would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. >> thank you very much. i thank all the witnesses for their testimony. the rules we established allowed you the opportunity to tell your story. there's no question about it. you've done it in your own words. we appreciate it. so what we will do now is given our questioning of you. i now recognize myself for questions. at the time of the attack on the capitol, i was in the gallery observing the proceedings on the house floor while members of congress were being protected by
the police, you the patriots protecting our capitol and our very democracy were being attacked by the mob outside. i want to learn more about what you did and what you witnessed. officer fanone, as a narcotics officer you weren't supposed to be at the capitol on january 6th, is that right? >> yes, sir, that is correct. >> what prompted you to come to the capitol? >> i mean, i was listening to the radio transmissions, specifically those coming from now commander robert glover who was the on-scene commander. if you listen to the transmissions, he identifies himself as cruiser 50. i heard things i'd never heard before in my law enforcement career. in addition to the numerous distress calls or 1033s that i've heard, which are while not
commonplace also not uncommon in policing. i heard things like, you know, the declaration of a citywide 1033,which in my career to my recollection as only been utilized, in addition to the 9/11 attacks, on the navy yard attack. so i found that particularly distressful. also, you could hear the tone of the individual officers' voices. they were scared. they were, you know, clearly outnumbered and being violently assaulted. >> thank you. so basically the radio traffic, the 1033 signal on the radio and your basic law enforcement instinct said your fellow
comrades needed help and, therefore, you made your way along with your friend to the capitol? >> yes, sir. >> so you went anyway. let me thank you for that. i understand a number of other people did the same. officer hodges, we've seen the harrowing video of you being crushed in a doorway as you bravely fought to keep the mob from reaching the capitol. many of your fellow officers' acts of heroism were not captured on video and are not, therefore, known to the public. can you please share with the committee other acts of heroism by your colleagues on january 6th that you're aware of? >> absolutely. one of my sergeants, sergeant brian peek, while fighting to maintain control over the barricades on the west terrace was struck by a rioter, fractured and severely
lacerating his right index finger. he kept in the fight for several more hours after that. he put some tape on it and a napkin and went back to work. he was there for several hours before finally accepting medical evac. he had to have the tip of his finger removed. another officer who was out there in the fight with us, much like myself, he had a large heavy object thrown and struck his head. he wasn't as lucky as me, though. he has suffered lost time from that day and he remains still out on medical leave. even today, he has not returned to work, but at the time he was still fighting. another officer was out on the west terrace into the tunnel as instrumental to the defense after being completely soaked with oc spray, was shocked
several times by a cattle prod one of the terrorists brought with them. when i went over my opening statement before, i mentioned that we were attacked outside the secondary defense line on the west terrace. after we ralied there, we continued onward. i know another officer found a capitol police officer who was being dragged out into the crowd. he wasn't able to signal us what was going on. he charged in there by himself and got that officer back out of there and in the process hyperextended his knee and took several other injuries. the "washington post" have estimated there were about 9400 terrorists out there. i would say we had about 150-175 officers. so any one of them could tell you any amounts of heroic acts or injuries they sustained.
these are just a few that i know of. >> thank you very much. officer gunnel, you talked about your tour in iraq and what have you. thank you for your service. can you give the committee a sense of comparing those two experiences with what you experienced on january 6th? >> sure. back when i was in iraq some time on a convoy mission to provide mutual support or taking care packages and whatnot to all the detachment. we went to roadside bomb infested, ied convoys.
my fears were minimal around that time. it was not as constant. i know we knew at that time that we could run over an ied and that was it. at least we knew that we were in a combat zone. here in our country in our very own capitol, we are being attacked not once, but multiple times. >> can you pull the microphone to your chest? >> sorry. not only were we attacked one time, but it was multiple times over and over, different people. they hit us. they got tired of hitting us and then they switch, somebody else rotating in. as my colleagues also had said, we were at the lower entrance
tunnel and we didn't have a chance to rotate ourselves until later on after an hour and a half later. whoever was there, we were fighting for our lives. we were fighting to protect all of you. in our mind at that time, after the that entrance, that was it. that was the point of breach, and we were not letting them in. they tried to persuade us to let them in, yelling. once they saw that we were not doing that, they continued to even attack us even more. it was nonstop. my time compared to iraq, totally different. this is our own citizens, people who we've sworn an oath to protect, but yet they are attacking us with the same flag
they claim to represent. it was bad. >> thank you. officer dunn, you talk about being called the n-word. you talk about being talked about like you've never heard before. and you talked about sharing comments from the other colleagues as well as the seeing of the confederate flag and other things carried through the capitol. as an african-american law enforcement officer, can you give us and this committee and those watching how you felt defending the capitol on that
day, being called that and seeing the symbol of the confederacy going through the capitol at the same time? >> thank you for your question. to be frank, while the attack was happening, i didn't view it -- i wasn't able to process it as a racial attack. i was just trying to survive that day and get home. when i did have a moment to process it, i think that's in the rotunda where i became so emotional because i was able to process everything that happened and it was just so overwhelming and so disheartening and disappointing that we live in a country with people like that that attack you because of the color of your skin just to hurt you. those words are weapons.
thankfully at the moment it didn't hinder me from doing my job, but once i was able to process it, it hurt. it hurt just reading it now and just thinking about it that people demonize you because of the color of your skin when my blood is red, i'm an american citizen, i'm a police officer, i'm a peace officer. i'm here to defend this country, defend everybody in this building, not just the members or the staff, guests, everybody. it just hurts that we have people in this country as a result of that regardless of your actions and what you desire to do to make a difference out there is disheartening. >> thank you.
because of your heroism on that day, lives were saved and our democracy was preserved, in large part because you gave your all, all of you on that day january 6th. the committee has a comprehensive account of your acts that day and your testimony this morning is an essential part of that record. thank you for your service to this country and for coming before us today. the chair now recognizes members for questions they may wish to ask the witnesses. the gentlewoman from wyoming, ms. cheney is recognized. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. again, thank you to all of our witnesses for your heroism and your bravery that day and also for being here today and telling your story. i certainly join the chairman and every member of this committee in our commitment to making sure we get to the truth and that those who did this are
accountable. officer gonell, you describe in your testimony, you said it was like a medieval battlefield, that what you were subjected to that day was something like a medieval battlefield. you said we fought hand-to-hand and inch-by-inch to prevent invasion of the capitol by a violent mob intent on subverting our democratic process. is it the case that as you were fighting there you were not aware that the capitol had been breached elsewhere. i believe you said you really thought you were the last line of defense, is that right? >> that is correct, ma'am. >> so officer gonell, when you think about that and share with us the vivid memory of the cruelty and the violence of the assault that day and then you hear former president trump say, quote, it was a loving crowd, there was a lot of love in the crowd, how does that make you
feel? >> it's upsetting. it's a pathetic excuse for his behavior for something that he himself helped to create, this monstrosity. i'm still recovering from those "hugs and kisses" that day that he claimed that so many rioters, terrorists were assaulting us that day. if that was hugs and kisses, we should all go to his house and do the same thing to him. to me, it's insulting, it's demoralizing, because everything that we did was to prevent everyone in the capitol from getting hurt. 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 egged them to continue fighting.
i was on the lower west terrace fighting alongside these officers. all of them, all of them were telling us. it was not antifa, it was not black lives matter, it was not the fbi. it was his supporters that he sent over to the capitol that day. he could have done a lot of things. one is to tell them to stop. he talks about sacrifices. the only thing he has sacrificed is the institutions of the country and the country itself only for his ego, because he wants the job, but he doesn't want to do the job. that's a shame on him himself. >> thank you. officer fanone, you talked in your testimony about the fact that the line that day was the
seat of american democracy, it was the seat of our government. can you talk about as you think now about what was under threat? first of all, did you have a sense at the time as you were going through the battle before the horrific violence happened to you of the nature of the gravity of the threat that we were facing, that the line was, in fact, the seat of american democracy? >> well, my response that day really was based off of my obligation as a police officer to not only protect the lives of the members of congress and their staff, but also to my fellow officers. the politics of that day really didn't play into my response at all. >> thank you. >> officer hodges, in your testimony you talk about when
you were at the ellipse and you mention the significant number of men dressed in tactical gear attending the gathering, wearing ballistic helmet, goggles, when you saw that, was that something that you anticipated at all? and could you tell us about that crowd at the ellipse, the extent that you saw people in military or paramilitary garb. >> they had vests designed to carry ballistic shielding, face masks, backpacks, unknown objects. i couldn't get a count and we count stop and search everyone, so i don't know how many there were. but i know it was obviously a concern of mine. >> thank you very much. finally, officer dunn, you
mentioned the text message that you received and you expressed some surprise. you mentioned that you had not seen any intelligence that would have led you to believe that we should expect that kind of violence. could you elaborate on that a little bit? >> yes, ma'am. we were expecting civil disobedience. at least that's what was relayed to us, a couple of arrests, name calling, you know, unfriendly people, but nowhere near the level of violence or even close to it that we experienced. when i received a text message, it made the hairs on my neck rise, but since our chain of command has not told us to prepare for these levels of
violence, i was like, okay, whatever, like i've been here. i started here in 2014 in november and dealt with hundreds of protests where people get arrested, peaceful first amendment protests. everybody has a right to protest. okay, do what you do. you know, we'll arrest you if you break the law and we'll go home later that night. it was a lot different than that. i was not alerted to the level of violence. like the text message i got foreshadowed that, looking back. but we were not prepared for what we faced that day. >> thank you. mr. chairman, with that, i'd like to ask unanimous consent if we could enter that complete text message into the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. again, i would like to express my deep gratitude for what you
all did to save us. it won't be forgotten and we'll get to the bottom of this. thank you very much. i yield back. >> i recognize the gentlewoman from california ms. lofgren. >> i was on the floor of the house helping to defend the voters of arizona to a challenge to their electors while you were out trying to keep a violent mob from invading the i know how many workers work in this congress, food service workers, clerical staff.
you saved them as well, so they also owe you a debt of gratitude. i do realize that ultimately the rioters breached the capitol, but the time that you kept them out really made a tremendous difference. you saved the day. you saved the constitution and it made a tremendous difference for our country. officer dunn, i did hear you about the need for additional help. i want to pledge to you that we will work with the capitol police to make sure that the mental health unit has the resources the officers need. i'll make that pledge to you right now. i'd like to ask sergeant gonell. not everyone knew that you were fighting in the hall on the lower west terrace on january 6th. can you tell me what happened in that hallway?
while you were there, metropolitan police arrived to help you out. what difference did that make? >> sure, ma'am. before i start, by no means am i suggesting that we will go to his house. i apologize for my outburst. after we retreated to the lower west terrace entrance, it was rough, it was terrible. everything that was happening to us, it was simultaneously. we didn't have a lot of support. we had probably like 50 officers at most when we went back in. once we were there, we started saying to ourselves, they say this is the entrance they're going to try to breach. we're going to hold the line.
we're going to do everything possible. without. even coordinating among ourselves, the few officers who were still carrying shields, we automatically assumed position in the front. some of the shields were taken, ripped apart from the officers' hands. some of the officers also got concussed because they were hit with the same shields they were holding. that was so violently taken from them that they were concussed. there were multiple struggles in terms of fighting. my shield was round. i was able to get some strikes. but because we were in such close quarters, it was hard for us to even do that. the only thing we were allowed to was push forward. whoever had shields stay in the
front and whoever was behind the people with the shield, and they were striking those rioters. at some point, i fell on top of the floor on top of some shields trying to help and assist some of the officers. i got pulled through the crowd. luckily i was able to free myself and stand up. later on, the second time i went back to the front, that's when officer hodges was getting trampled. i was getting trampled because just the mere force of the rioters pushing forward and police officer pushing out were getting trampled in the middle. it was very terrible things that happened to us there. >> officer fanone, before i ask you a question i'd like to show
we've just seen, officer fanone? >> i believe the first portion of that video began that was my body worn camera footage from the crypt area of the capitol rotunda. it was there that i first heard the 1033 or distress call come out from the lower west terrace tunnel, which i didn't realize at the time was only a few hundred yards away from where i was at. i told my partner, jimmy albright, who was there with me, that there was a 1033 coming out from the lower west terrace. we tried to get our bearings and figure out which way that might be. we asked a group of capitol police officers and they directed us down a set of stairs. from there, jimmy and i walked down to the lower west terrace tunnel. the first thing i remember was seeing a buddy of mine, sergeant
bill bogner, who's an administrative sergeant. he used to work in my district. now he works over at the academy. he was unable to see. he has been sprayed in the face with bear mace. i went up to him and told him, hey, it's fanone. i remember he stretched out his hand to shake mine. that's when he told me that the guys that were just beyond that set of double doors had been fighting there for, i believe he said about 30 minutes. i don't think he realized what time it was, because they'd been fighting since around 1:00 p.m. it was 3:00. those guys had been there fighting for two hours unrelieved. i remember looking up through the set of double doors. there was glass panes. you could see the cs gas, like white powder still lingering in the air. it was at that point that i
realized i probably should have brought my gas mask. so i went through the double doors and i say rayme kyle, who was overseeing all the detectives units, like other sergeants, lieutenants, captains that day, he self-deployed and found himself commanding a group of about 30 or 40 officers there in the lower west terrace tunnel. commander kyle was having a difficult time breathing. i remember i followed him back out through the set of double doors into that initial hallway as he kind of cleared himself, straightened himself up. i described it before. i thought he looked like george patton. i remember he put his hat back on and walked right back out
through the doorway into the tunnel. i followed him. it was at that point, i think, when i started approaching that group of officers there defending the doorway that i realized the gravity of the situation. my initial thought was, these guys look like, they look beat to hell. you know, maybe i could try to get in there and get some guys some help. so i told jimmy that we needed to get in there and try to officer assistance. that's what we did initially. we started making our way through the crowd of officers, yelling out "who needs a break." like i said in my initial testimony, there were no volunteers. there were officers who identified other colleagues who were in need of help, and i remember somebody yelling out
"this guy needs help" and handed me that officer. i handed him off to jimmy and told him to get him to the back, and i continued to make my way up to the front lines. once i got up there, it was the first time i really came face to face with these terrorists. they were dressed in, you know, clothing adorned with political slogans, "make america great again," "donald trump 2020," things of that nature. they were wearing military-style clothing, kevlar vests and helmets. many of them had gas masks, and quite a few had shields which they had taken away from law enforcement officers. they were using them to beat us
at the front line. the first thing i told them was, hey man, we got to get these doors closed. we got injured officers in here. that really seemed to piss those guys off. they became incredibly violent. that's when that surge that you watched in some of the video began. and you had a large group at the mouth of that tunnel entrance, trying to push their way through the officers who were fighting to defend it. i believe had they done so or had they accomplished that, they would have trampled us to death. most certainly you would have had police officers killed. i fought there at the front for some time. i was yelling out, you know, trying to inspire some of the other officers that were up
there that were tired, telling them to dig in and push. we started to make some progress. we pushed those guys out of the tunnel, out through the initial threshold. i remember thinking to myself, man, it's good to get some fresh air. it was at that point that i was pulled off the line. that initial period of time where i was pulled, you know, off that line was kind of a blur. i just remember getting violently assaulted from every direction and eventually found myself out 250, maybe 300 feet away from the mouth of the tunnel where the other officers
were at. i knew that i was in -- i was up shit creek without a paddle. i was trying to push guys off of me, create some space. all the while i recognized the fact that there were individuals that were trying to grab a hold of my gun. i remember win of them distinctly lunging at me time and time again trying to grab my gun. and i heard people in the crowd yelling "get his gun, kill him with his own gun," and words to that effect. i thought about using my weapon. i believe that there were individuals in the crowd whose intentions were to kill me. i came to that conclusion because of the fact that separated from these other officers who were only trying to defend the capitol, i no longer
posed any type of threat, nor was i an impediment to them, you know, going inside of the building, but yet they tortured me. they beat me. i was struck with a taser device at the base of my skull numerous times, and they continued to do so until i yelled out that i have kids. i said that hoping to appeal to some of their, some of those individuals' humanity. and, fortunately, a few did step in and intervene on my behalf. they did assist me back towards the mouth of the tunnel entrance and other officers were then able to rescue me and pull me back inside, but at that point i was unconscious.
based off the body-worn camera footage, it's believed that i was unconscious for approximately 4 minutes. >> thank you, officer. and thanks to each one of you. our country is lucky really that you were as patriotic and brave as you are. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> the gentle lady yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. kinzinger, for however long he chooses. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to my colleagues on the committee. thank you to our witnesses. i never expected today to be quite as emotional for me as it has been. i've talked to a number of you and gotten to know you. i think it's important to tell you right now, though, you guys may individually feel a little
broken. you guys all talked about the effects you have to deal with and you talked about the impact of that day. but you guys won. you guys held. democracies are not defined by our bad days. they're defined by how we come back from bad days, how we take accountability for that. for all the overheated rhetoric surrounding this committee, our mission is very simple. it's to find the truth and it's to ensure accountability. like most americans, i'm frustrated that six months after a deadly insurrection breached the united states capitol for several hours on live television, 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, to the staff and the employees on the capitol complex, to the american people who deserve the truth and to those generations before us who went to war to defend self-governance, because self-governance is at stake. it's why i agreed to serve on this committee. i want to know what happened that day, but more importantly i want all americans to be able to trust the work this committee does and get the facts out there free of conspiracy. this cannot continue to be a partisan fight. i'm a republican, i'm a conservative. but in order to heal from the damage caused that day, we need to call out the facts. it's time to stop the outrage and the conspiracies that fuel the violence and division in this country. most importantly, we need to reject those that promote it. as a country, it's time to learn
from our past mistakes, rebuild stronger so this never happens again, and then we can move onward. serving on this committee, i'm here to investigate january 6th, not in spite of my membership in the republican party, but because of it, not to win a political fight, but to learn the facts and defend our democracy. here's what we know. congress was not prepared on january 6th. we weren't prepared because we never imagined this could happen, an attack by our own people fosters and encouraged by those granted power through the very system they sought to overturn. that is a lesson. that is not a conspiracy theory or counter narrative. we don't blame victims, we go after the criminals. some have concocted a counter narrative to discredit this process on the grounds that we didn't launch a similar investigation into the urban riots and looting last summer.
mr. chairman, i was called onto serve during the summer riots as an air national guardsman. i condemn those riots and the destruction of property that resulted. but not once did i ever feel that the future of self-governance was threatened like i did on january 6th. there was a difference between breaking the law and rejecting the rule of law, between a crime, even grave crimes and a coup. as we begin our work today, i want to call this committee's attention to an oath of office, not to a party, not to an individual, but to the constitution that represents all americans. everyone in elected office knows how hard it can be sometimes to keep that oath, to preserve, defend and protect the constitution of the united states in the forefront of our minds with the political pressures and reelections always around the corner. mr. chairman, our witnesses
today, like every law enforcement officer across the country, took the same oath we did. on january 6th, the temptation to compromise their oath didn't come in the form of a campaign check or leadership or an all caps tweet. it came in the form of a violent mob. while we on this dais were whisked away from the danger, heros like those before us stood their post before it and paid the price. we are only here now because you guys were here then. therefore, it's all together fitting that we begin our investigation of january's lawless attack against the constitution and these four men who made sure the attack who did not succeed, but those who helped to ensure that democracy held. i think it's important to remember you are four with stories, but there are hundreds with stories as well that you represent where you sit. officer fanone, i know your passion is to make sure that d.c. metro gets the credit it's
due. i thank you. i know you represent the hundreds of officers like officer hodges that responded to that call. what i want to ask, does this feel like old history to any of the four of you? sometimes we hear out there, it's time to move on, right, it's been six whole months, time to move on. does this feel like old history and time to move on? you can just say yes or no. >> no, sir. >> nope. >> there can be no moving on without accountability. there can be no healing until we make sure this can't happen again. >> how do you move on without correcting what happened? >> let me ask you all. one of the narratives out there and, officer fanone, it triggered something in your
testimony when you said it. there's been this idea that this was not an armed insurrection, as if somehow that is justification for what happened. we know the hugs and kisses. we know it was blm and antifa. i'm sure we want to investigate that if that's the case. now we've heard maybe the fbi actually started this. but one of the ones that has always held was that this was not an armed insurrection. officer dunn, you mentioned that those that stormed the capitol were very well organized and trained. let me ask you and i'll ask actually all four of you. and officer hodges, i know this was part of your job initially before you responded to the capitol. if in the middle of all that melee, you see somebody with a gun in that crowd, would you be able to go out, apprehend, arrest them, read them their rights and go through that process? or was the mission at the moment survival and defense of the capitol?
so i'm asking is it possible that people maybe had guns? and we've seen that actually there were, but this idea that people weren't arrested with guns, at the time it was raw survival. we can start on the left. let me ask you, what's your response to that? >> for those people who continue to downplay this violent attack on our democracy and officers, i suggest them to look at the videos and the footage, because common things were used as weapons, like a baseball bat, a hockey stick, a rebar, a flag pole, including the american flag, pepper spray, bear spray. you name it, you had all these items and things that were thrown at us and used to attack us. those are weapons. no matter if it is a pen, the
way they were using these items, it was to hurt officers, it was to hurt police officers. their intent was not to say, hey, let me go and find a republican or a democrat in there or independent. it was every single body that was here in the capitol. their intent was to get them out and hurt them. it would have been a much different outcome had we not stopped them, especially at the lower west terrace entrance. even though at that time we didn't know that there were other breaches in the capitol. our intent was to stop whoever was trying to come in through that door. these weapons that were used, those were common items. the way they were using it was as weapons. >> let me ask too in kind of my
final moment. sergeant gonell, officer hodges you were a virginia guardsman, i believe? >> yes, sir. >> at any time in your service in the military -- you know, i'm an air guardsman. sergeant gonell, you mentioned your time in iraq. at any time in your military service, did you change how you defended the person to your left or right or how you trained with them based on their political affiliation? >> no. >> no, sir. the way i view it at that time was i'm an american and the person right next to me is an american, and i will do everything possible for me to defend him and the country at that time. >> you guys did that in the blue? >> yes, sir. >> i want that is the mission of this committee. we may have deep divisions on
policy issues, but we are all americans today. we thank you for holding that line. >> congressman, if i may respond , when you asked about the armed part when the officers, assumed officers showed me what appeared to be a police badge, i don't know too many police officers -- and this is just me being a police officer for 13 years -- that carry their badge and don't carry a gun with them. we'd look on their hips, you'd see a print. a reasonable person would think that was a gun on their hip. >> a reasonable person would believe that was the outline of a gun. >> yes. >> i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr.
schiff. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i was on the house floor from the beginning of the joint session to the beginning of the attack and the evacuation by the capitol police. i want to thank you. i'm convinced one of the lives you saved that day might very well have been my own. we are all greatly in your debt. you are all heros. sergeant gonell, representative lofgren asked you about your experience. i won't ask you to repeat that. i would like the public to see some video from your perspective if you're comfortable with my showing it. >> that's fine. >> if the clerk could roll the video, please. >> you want to lock them together? here. right there. show them how to lock the shields together. go ahead.
[indiscernible] >> sergeant in that video win of the first things you hear is someone saying "you're going to die being crushed by rioters, feeling yourself losing oxygen, thinking this is how your life is going to end. it's hard for us to understand what you went through and we were there. i think it's hard for people
around the country to understand what that was like. can you tell us what you were thinking when you were losing oxygen and thought that might be the end. >> my rushing out there, the way i was thinking we can't let these people in, no matter what. even if it costs my life. that bloody hand you saw, that was me. and both my hands were pleading bad. and at no point in time did i stop to consider stop. because the attacks were so relentless that all we had to do was, i was thinking, was i need to survive this, if possible. but i'm willing to sacrifice myself to prevent this attackers from coming in. i swore an oath to protect the
public, members of congress in the united states constitution and that is what i was doing that day, regardless of my personal safety, along with everybody else that was there that day. they were calling us traitors, even though they were the ones committing the treasonous act that day. it is devastating and demoralizing for people, whoever party is, to call this attack and continue to minimize it like nothing happened. it was an attempted coup that was happening at the capitol that day. and if it had been another country, the u.s. would have sent help. and people need to understand
the severity of and the magnitude of the event that was happening that day. we were all fighting for our lives to give them, to give you guys a chance to go home to your family too, escape. and now the same people who we helped, the same people who we gave them the time to get to safety, now they're attacking us, attack our characters, attacking officers harry's character, people who never served in military or law enforcement. so, it's a disgrace. my actions that day was to save you guys. regardless of my personal safety. and i still continue to want to do that. today, tomorrow, and as long as i'm permitted to do it. if it is demanded of myself to do that in the future.
>> sergeant, obviously had a deep impact on you, all of you, but it's had a big impact on your family. you described how, when you got home, you couldn't hug your wife because you had chemicals all over you. you wanted to go back. it seems like no sooner had you got home that you wanted to go back. i think i read you felt guilty. did your wife want you to go back? >> no. >> why did you go back and what was your conversation with her about that? >> after i took a shower, i spent about ten minutes hugging her and my son. i told her i got to get some sleep because i got to get back to work. and she told me no, you're not. you're hurt. i said i know. i'm still able to continue to carry out my duties and by 8:00, i was on my way back, despite
her concerns and for my safety. my sense of duty for the country, for the constitution at that time was bigger than even my life for my wife and my son. i put that ahead and for me, it's confounding that some people, who have sworn an oath, elect odficials, including people in the military that i seen in the lower stairs, fighting against me. they swore an oath and they're forgetting about the oath. they're not putting the country before the party. and that's what bothers me the most. because i, as a former soldier, i know what that inhairets, that oath. and i was willing and still willing to do it.
and we have people right now, in front of the justice department asking to release some of the very same people to be released. even though we are testifying about the trauma and the agony and everything that happened to us. it's pathetic and they shouldn't be elected official anymore. >> officer dunn, you describe talking to your fellow black officer about what you went through and experiencing racial epitaphs. you asked a question, i think, i've been haunted by ever since, is this america? and i'm very interested to know your thoughts on the answer to that question. is this america, what you saw?
>> thank you for your question. i said that it was a war that we fought and a war is composed of a bunch of different battles. and everybody, even sitting at this table, fought a different battle that day but all for the same war. and as black officers, i believe we fought a different battle also. and the fact that we had our race attacked just because of the way we look, you know, to answer your question, frankly, i guess it is america. it shouldn't be. but i guess that's the way that things are. i don't condone it. i don't like it. but if you look at our history
of american history, things are -- countries existed because they won a war. or colonies and state lines and boundaries exist because of violence and wars. so, i guess, it sounds silly but i guess it is american. and it's so -- but it's not the side of america that i like or the side that any of us here represent. we represent the good side of america, the people that actually believe in decency and human decency and we appeal to just the good in people. that's what we want to see, whether we disagree with how they vote on a bill about infrastructure. everybody wants the right thing. people to do okay. so, that's why i'm glad to see this committee composed of republican members also.
i -- that's encouraging. that's encouraging. so, that's the side of america that i say yes, this is america. this is the side i like and acknowledge. >> officer, thank you. i believe in this country and i believe in it because of people like you. who understand what the flag means. and what our constitution means and risk their lives to defend it. i'd like to thank, as amanda gorman so eloquently said, that we're not broken. we're just unfinished. because if we're no longer committed to a peaceful transfer of power after our elections, if our side doesn't win, then god help us. we deem elections illegitimate if they don't go our way, rather than trying to do better next
time, then so help us. then we're so driven by hate that we attack our fellow citizens if they were born in another country or they don't look like us -- god help us. but i have faith because of folks like you. and i didn't expect this would be -- but it must be an adam thing today. but i'm so grateful to all of you. with that, mr. chairman, i field back. >> chair recognizes, gentleman from california, mr. agholor. >> like my colleagues, i want to extend my gratitude and appreciation for your service on
january 6th and since then, which you've had to go through. i was on the house floor, like my colleagues on the 6th, when i was told a violent mob had breached the capitol and it's because of your service, you and your colleagues that we're here today because you were literally the last line of physical defense, laying your life on the line for democracy. my time will be limited. so, i'll be asking questions primarily about the weapons you observed and how they were used. officer hodges, you were in a unique position because you were closer to the white house to start, as you indicated in your testimony. during the morning and the early afternoon on the 6th, what did you hear specifically about guns and explosives that had been discovered by your fellow officers? >> i was listening on the radio
to our gun recovery unit, working the crowd. what we usually try to do is wait for the crowd to disperse, that way we don't set off a crowd, a riot. i think they might have identified people of interest that they never got a chance to address and they were working the crowd to try and confirm reports of firearms on certain people. but it's also difficult to do given the nature of the crowd and how many there were. when i heard they confirmed the existence of a device, there was only one thing it could be, explosives. and in 42 we had our own objective, our own mission. we scanned the crowd but these people, they know how to conseal
their weapons. so, on a big avenue, like constitution, you can't really -- it's difficult to detect and if it's in a backpack, there's not much you can do. but we continue to scan the crowd and find what we could but mostly t was up to our other units to make those discoveries. >> you talked about, in response to representative cheney, the gear that individuals were wearing. so, combined with what you saw visually, with what you'd heard on the radio about guns, that all led you to give pause about the next few hours, correct? >> absolutely. once we got to the capitol and we were fighting, i was wondering, you know, how many more bombs are there.
what's tlr trigger? is it going to be a cell phone? is it on a timer? how many guns are there in this crowd? if we start firing, is that the signal to them to set off the explosives, as many as there are in the city, to shoot back? so, that's the reason why i didn't shoot anyone and i imagine why many others didn't. because there were over 9,000 of the terrorists out there with an unknown number of firearms and a couple hundred of us, maybe. so, we could not -- if that turned into a fire fight, we would have lost. and this was a fight we couldn't afford to lose. >> i want to play a video. and i ask that anyone watching pay attention to the weapons rioters are using. you can hear someone yell get your machete. you can see officers being
>> sergeant, in the video, we just saw someone throw a large speaker. was that directed your way? >> i was further inside. that was after, towards -- before they got clear. when they threw the speaker at me, i was further inside the tunnel. >> what types of weapons did you see used against your fellow officers? >> police shields, police baton, hammers, sledge hammer that you saw in the video. flag poles, tasers, pepper spray, bear spray. pvc pipes, copper pipes, rocks, table legs broken down.
the guardrails, cones. 4 by 4. any weapons, any items they can get their hands on. >> further down the corridor -- >> it was thrown my way and hit somebody else and landed on my foot. >> i think we have a photo of your foot here we'd like to show. >> that is correct. >> can you tell me how you're doing. you mentioned about your continued physical therapy related to the foot. can you tell me how you're doing. >> the foot. i has several conditions that were -- one is fusion on number
one metatarcel. then the hammer toe we saw. and the second and third digit also got damaged. in order for -- to fix one, you need to correct the big toe to stabilize. later on in the future, i'd have had the same problem returning. it is very painful. it is well out of patience and determination i have gone through. i still have the same problems. in terms of pain, stiffness, what not. the doctor last week told me i'm going to need surgery on my shoulder because i have a labrum tear that hasn't healed more
than six months later and my rotator cuff. so, you're talking about eight months to a year more of physical treatment and rehab. >> sergeant, you're an immigrant from the dominican republic and naturalized u.s. citizen. and you mentioned how individuals zeroed in on your race that day. can you tell me how that made you feel? >> before -- or right after we just arrived with the fluorescent mountain bike unit, we were there. and they -- apparently even through my mask they saw my skin color and said you're not even an american.
regardless, whether i was in the military, they don't know that. they're yelling and saying all these things to me. when i heard that, i wasn't even thinking about racial stuff. okay. you don't know that. but just like officer harry done, it takes time for you to process that. and you only realize what was happening after you go back and see it from a different point in time because i only saw that recently. but for me, i wasn't even thinking of it. i'm there to stop regardless. i'm not thinking whether we're talking in terms of my skin color and race. i'm a former soldier and police
officer. i didn't take that into account when i was defending all of you guys. >> officer hodges, you characterize the attack on the capitol as a white nationalist insurrection. can you describe what you saw that led you to label the attack that way. >> the crowd was overwhelmingly white males. usually a little bit older, middle age but some younger. i think out of the entire time i was there, i saw just two women and two asian males. everyone else was white males. they didn't say anything especially xenophobic to me but to my black colleagues and anyone who's not white and they
would -- some of them would try to recruit me. one of them said are you my brother? and there are many, many known organizations with ties to white supremacy at presence there. 3 percenters, that kind of thing. and everyone i've ever -- people who associate with donald trump i find are more likely to subscribe to that kind of belief system. >> i want to thank the four of you for taking the very difficult step of sharing your stories and recollections of the threats, violence you endured. no one should have to experience what you've went through. and this committee will continue its work to give a complete accounting of what happened to protect further officers and to
amplify the stories you've shared today. thank you so much for being here. yield back. >> thank you. gentleman yields back. chair recognizes the chair lady from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for your testimony today, for your bravery on january 6th, and for your service to our country. i know all of you endured a great deal on january 6th. and i know we've watched a lot of difficult video in this testimony so far. i hope it's okay with you if i show a brief video of what officer hodges experienced that day. can you please cue the video.
the american people to see that. because that's the beginning of the kind of accountability this committee is committed to to do what you said moving forward as a country. you know, january 6th was an attack on our democracy, on the peaceful transfer of power and it was an attack on this capitol building. but it was also an attack on real people. and most people don't know this and i don't think even you know this but your actions had a profound impact on me. so, at 3:00 p.m. on january 6th, while you were holding back the mob at the lower west terrace entrance, i was holed up with congresswoman, kathleen rice in a small office 40 paces from the tunnel that you all were in. that's about the distance i am now to the back wall. and from that office, in close proximity to where you all held
the line, i listened to you struggle, i listened to you yelling out to one another. i listened to you care for one another, directing people back to the makeshift eye wash station that was at the ends of our hall. and then i listened to people coughing, having difficulty breathing, but i watched you encourage you all get back into the fight. and i think congresswoman rice and i were the only members of congress to be down there on that lower west terrace. you know, we had taken refuge in that office because we thought for sure, being in the basement at the heart of the capitol was the safest place we could be. and it turned out we ended up at the center of the storm. and officer pinoen, you said you're 250 feet off that tunnel and felt certain that they were
going to kill you. imagine if they had caught the two members of congress just 40 feet from where you all were. and i know sergeant and officer hodges, you both said you didn't realize other parts of the capitol had been breached but you felt like you were the last line of defense. well, i'm telling you that you were our last line of defense. and during the exact period of time officer hodges, in that video where you were sacrificing your body to hold that door, if gave congresswoman rice and i and the capitol police officers, who had been sent to extract us, the freedom of movement on that hallway to escape down the other end of the hallway. and i shutter to think what would have happened had you not held that line. i have two young children, a 10-year-old and a 7-year-old daughter.
and they're the light of my life. and the reason i was able to hug them again was because of the courage that you and your fellow officers showed that day. and so, just to really heartfelt thank you. i think it's important for everybody to remember that the main reason rioters didn't harm any members of congress was because they didn't encounter any members of congress and they didn't encounter any members of congress because law enforcement officers did your jobs that day and you did it well. i think without you what would have been a terrible -- what was a terrible and tragic day would have been even more terrible and even more tragic. so, just very grateful for all of you. and now i'd like to talk a little bit about that video. you've talked a little about it in your opening statement.
but can you walk us through what's happening in that scene. my understanding is your body camera as well as other vantage points. >> that's correct. we were driven off the west terrace. then you see me spit on the floor, unfortunately, trying to clear my lungs and mouth of all the cnoc. you see me preparing my gas mask, dawning it, preparing to go back out there. and i followed the noise to the tunnel where it was just wall-to-wall people fighting for what room they had. it was full of gas at the time and i believe that smoke was from a fire extinguisher. you could see all the residue on the officers who were there. and it's like i said before.
they out numbered us 50 something to 1. so t didn't matter how many we defeated, we just had to hold on. we couldn't let anyone through. and they always had a -- you know, essentially an infint number of replacements. we need fresh patriots and there would be more. so, we just had to hold until someone came to help. and like i said once i got to the front, i didn't want to -- i didn't want anymore pressure on the officers behind me. so, i tried to insert myself to where i could use the door frame, brace myself, push forward to take back more territory.
fortunately, that backfired. so, once we lost ground, i was unable to retreat. i was crushed against the door frame. and then my most vulnerable moments. the man in front of me took advantage. and beat me in the head. ripped off my gas mask. strained my skull, split my lip open. just everything you could. and at that point i recognize that if i stayed there, then i was going to pass out for lack of oxygen or get dragged to the crowd and end up like finone. so, i called for help. i tried to make it clear my
position was untenable. and thankfully the other officers heard that and were able to get me out of there. to the back where i recouperated as best i could before i got back out there again. >> it's clear you suffered immense pain from the assault. it's clear you were out numbered and yet you just said you got back out there again. tell me what's worth all of that pain? what was worth it? what were you fighting for that day? >> democracy. you were 40 feet away. yards or whatever. especially with the razor-thin margins on democrats and republicans and the house and senate. if any single one person was kidnapped or killed, which i have no doubt in my mind is what they intended, it would have effected the outcome of legislation. and all your duties for years to come.
and if -- that's just one person. more than one person, the difference would be even greater than what should be and will be. and obviously, for each other. your immediate concern is the well being of your colleagues. the other officers who were there, fighting beside me, i think i can speak for everyone when i say we worry about each other more than ourselves. that's just in our nature. it's why you become a police officer. so, when finone said he was trying to find out who needs help, no one would volunteer. it's an example of that mindset we have. it was for democracy. it was for men and women of the house and senate, it was for each other, and for the future of the country. >> thank you, officer hodges.
and thank you all for defending democracy. and i appreciate your testimony. and i appreciate your continued service. with that, i yield back. >> gentle lady yields back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. sergeant, officer hodges -- you are great law enforcement officers and a hero to law enforcement officers across the country. great public servants, hero public servants across the country and you're grade americans and heros to all of america. and long after you are gone, you will be remembered as heroes to our country, along with your fellow officers. and those who attacked you and those who beat you are fascist traitors to our country and will be remembered forever as fascist traders. now, officer dunn, i've got to
start with you because you're my constituent and the pride of maryland today. because of the way you stood up for the capitol and for the congress and for our democracy. but you said something fascinating in your testimony. you said you've never seen anybody physically assault a single officer before in your 13 years on the force, much less thousands and thousands of people attacking hundreds of officers. so, how did you experience that when it first happened? >> with regards at the never -- sure i've seen videos of officers being attacked and people resisting arrest. but never an assault on the scale we've seen like that before. i just wanted to clarify that. can you repeat your question. >> it leads to my next one, actually.
you said you'd seen protests for many years, even civil disobedience for many years. there's an effort today to portray the events of january 6th like some kind of resurrection of dr. king's march on washington in 1963. and i've seen a lot of protests here too. i've seen the march for our lives that the young people did about gun violence. i see people marching for d.c. statehood, arguing for their rights to representation in congress and i've seen -- civil disobedience. >> the protests you specifically talked about, i'll go a step further and talk about the not so -- the ones that had the potential to be not so peaceful. you had the million man march
rally, the 20th anniversary of it. was a lot of opposition to that. you had the klan that came up here. you had people proguns that wanted to come up here. so, all of those had the potential to be very violent and, frankly, quite deadly. but they did not. this wasn't the first time, if i can use this quote, that the maga people came up before. there were squirmishes but never the attempt to overthrow democracy. they came up, i think this was maybe the second or third time they came up on january 6th. and even then, as belligerent as they were, they didn't account to this violence. so, the only difference that i see is that they had marching orders, so to say.
when people feel emboldened by people in power, they assume they're right. one of the scariest things about january 6th is that the people that were there, even to this day, think that they were right. they think that they were right. and that makes for a scary recipe for the future of this country. i think it's very important that you all take this committee seriously and get to the bottom of why this happened and make it never happen again. >> thank you. officer, i think you've given our committee our marching orders today, which is to hold the line. you held the line and now we need to hold the line. if we show a fraction of the valor you showed january 6th,
then we will hold the line. i want to go back to this question of weapons. so, we can clear this up. there are still people saying the insurrectionests were unarmed. i wonder what your reaction is to that. first of all, rampant baseball bats, led pipes, confederate battle flags and so on. and what about the question of firearms? what is your reaction, generally to the proposition they weren't armed? >> first and foremost, i would say the implements you just described are most certainly weapons. with regards to firearms, i know that in the days immediately before the january 6th insurrection, and january 6th it itself, firearms were are
recovered by individuals in washington d.c. who were believed to have been participants or at least those who were planning to participate in the january 6th insurrection. and yes, those were firearms, handguns and such. >> forgive me for these questions butted i've got to ask you. apparently in some nether regions of the internet, it's being said that you, officer, maybe were mistaken for antifa and that's why you were nearly beaten. is there any way you were mistaken for antifa? >> i was wearing a uniformed shirt adorn would the metropolitan police department's patch. had my badge on until somebody ripped it off my chest. i do not believe i was mistaken for a member of antifa.
>> you said there are people that would prefer this go away, let's let by gones be by gones. but you seem determined to get the country to focus on this. why is this so important to you? >> first and foremost, because of the actions of officers who responded there that day, specifically from my department but also from u.s. capitol police and some of the surrounding jurisdictions, you know, down playing the events of that day, is down playing the officer's response. and like sergeant said, some of the officers, part of the healing process from recovering from the traumatic events of the day is having the nation accept the fact it happened. >> some people are saying as public servants you should not be speaking out, that cops, firefighters, teachers, should serve the public but not speak
out. as citizens. what do you think about that? >> well, i disagree. i've been outspoken throughout my career, never to this magnitude. as an undercover officer and narcotics officer, i've heard obscurity in the public eye. however, this event is something that we have not experienced in our lifetimes. >> officer hodges, i read your testimony carefully, i hope every american reads your testimony. i noted you referred to terrorists or terrorism 15 different times to describe the people assaulting officers, dragging them through the crowd, stealing their weapons, smashing them over the head, gouging eyes and so on. however, some of our colleagues have been calling the violent insurrectionests, not tear
rgs -- terrorists, but tourists. why do you call the attackers terrorists? and what do you think of our colleagues who call them tourists? >> well, if that's what american tourists are like, i can see why foreign countries don't like american tourists. [ laughter] >> but i can see why someone would take issue with the title of terrorist. it's gained a lot of notoriety in our vocabulary in the last couple decades. we like to think that couldn't happen here. no domestic terrorism, no home grown threats but i came prepared. u.s. code title 18, part one, chapter 113, b, section 2331.
the term domestic terrorism means activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws in the united states or any state. and b, to be intended too, intimidate or coerse a civilian population or influence policies by intimidation or coercion or to effect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping. and to occur primarily in the jurisdiction of the united states. >> well, thank you for that. and i had one final question for sergeant but looks like my time is up. so, i yield back. >> chair will give the gentleman opportunity. >> thank you for your indulgence, mr. chairman. are there questions, that you hope we can answer as a committee about the causes of the attack, the nature of the attack and what happened in the
weeks prior to january 6th, as we develop our work plan moving forward? >> i think in my opinion, we do need to get to the bottom of this. who incited, who brought those people here? why the people were made to believe thatthal process was along those lines. but going back to what i just said. i had 15 years of service. i've given thousands -- i have given tour to thousands of people in the capitol as an officer, as a sergeant, and in plain clothes uniform. and at no point in time did i ever get attacked. i don't know how will you call an attack on police officer a
tour. when you see me bleeding, my hands, other officers getting concussion, getting maimed, getting fingers shattered. i got -- eyes gouged. it's undescribable. you're defending in the defensible. and demoralized, not just the rank and file but the future we choose, that -- what do you think people considering becoming law enforcement officers think when they see elected leaders down playing this? why would i risk my life for them when they don't even care? they don't care what happens to the public. they don't care what happened to the officers. all they care is their job. if they don't have the courage
to put their job on the line because they want to feed somebody's ego or a tweet, that's not putting the country first. we are willing to risk our lives, at least make it worth it. we do that regardless wll you're a republican, democrat or independent. when there's a radio call, a dispatch sends a call. we don't say, hey, by the way, are you a republican or democrat or independent? we don't. we just respond. and normally, under any other circumstances, we stay shut. we don't talk about politics, what happened to us. but this is bigger than that. you're down playing an event that happened to the country
itself. to democracy,to the rule of law. you're talking about people who claim that they are pro-law enforcement, pro-police, pro-law and order. and yet when they have the chance and opportunity to do something about it, to hold people accountable, you don't. you pass the bucket. like nothing happened. and it's so devastating for recruiting. yes, we need bodies right now. but this makes it harder, especially when you're trying to atact the talent we need. people willing to risk their lives to protect you guys. >> well, thank you very much. and mr. chairman, the question was asked by officer dunn is this america? i think these gentleman embody the spirit of america and we
must do justice to their sacrifice in the work of our committee. yield back. >> no question about it. chair recognizes gentle lady from virginia. >> i have want foosay i'm grateful for your service. for you sharing your stories, for your willingness to speak to the members of this committee to the american people about the horrific things you experienced january 6th, truly experienced in defense of our democracy. sergeant ginel, you mentioned the many times you took the oath. to become a naturalized citizen, join the army, serve as an officer of the capitol police force. and officer hodges, you mentioned as well, as a national guardsmen and as a police officer, and myself, something i
can't share with you, the horrific experiences that you had that day. but all of us, having taken that oek -- oath, and i took it when i was 17 and joined the navy. when you mentioned and compared this earlier to the experiences you had in iraq, that in a war zone, you didn't feel like you felt that day. can you share that with us in a little more detail what was going through your head, your thoughts about what you had experienced defending our nation on foreign soil and then being here, in the heart of our nation in our capitol, and being assaulted the way that you were. >> it is very disappointing. when i was lower west terrace and i saw many officers fighting for their lives.
against people, rioters, citizens. turning against us. people who had the thin blue line on their chest. or another rioter with a marine hat that says veteran. or any other type of military paraphernalia. and then they're accusing us -- when i was in iraq, the sense of comradery, it didn't matter whether you were white, black, spanish, middle east. we all knew what we were fighting for. and my experience there was there were times that i was -- yes, i was scared of going on convoys or doing my supply mission to local iraqi
population. because we were possibly ambushed or getting shot at. we knew the risk but here was over and over and over, our own citizens, while they were attacking us because we're defending the very institution that they're claiming they're trying to save. >> thank you for sharing that and i know it's been difficult today, as we've watched these images from the capitol but i did want to share one more video. at this time, i would ask people. you could close your eyes and listen without watching. just listen to what is being said as these brave men were being overrun.
feel? >> again, i think at no point that day did i ever think about the politics of that crowd, even the things that were being said did not resonate in the midst of that chaos. but what did resonate was the fact that thousands of americans were attacking police officers. who were simply there doing their job. and that they were there to disrupt members of congress, who were doing their job. you know, in retrospect now,
thinking about those events and the things that were said, it's disgraceful that members of our government, i believe, were responsible for inciting that behavior and then continue to propagate those statements, things like, you know, this was a 1776. or that police officers, who fought, risked their live said and some gave theirs. red coats and traitors.
>> to me, those are representative of the worst that america has to offer. >> thank you. and thinking about the events that happened january 6th and thinking about what led to that day, i was reminded of a quote, a quote that i frequently heard used from hemmingway that asks how do these things happen? how do things like this happen? and that quote, it's very short. it just says gradually, and then suddenly. i think our founders understood our republic was very fragile and it would be tested and it was tested here on january 6th. in 20 years, i don't want to look back on this moment and
think we saw these signs coming gradually, that these were signs we ignored, that people thought were isolated incidents or things we never thought had happened. and i don't want to say to my daughter or sergeant or officer, i don't want any of us to say this happened gradually, and then suddenly. and that some were just too worried about winning the next election to do something about it or too cowardly to seek the truth. that's the task before this committee. i'm sure we'll be attacked by cowards, those in the arena, those only in the stands and that we'll be attacked by people that are more concerned about their own power than about the good of this country. but my oath, your oath, all of
our oaths here today to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, will be our guiding light for this investigation. and as officer dunn said earlier, you said we can never again allow our democracy to be put in peril. i will say that we will persevere, we will do what is right. and our nation is truly ever grateful to you, who held that line. your actions on january 6th could very well have been what saved our democracy. and we thank you. >> mr. chair, i yield back. >> thank you. the gentleman from maryland asked a question in terms of
what you would expect this committee to do in our body of work. the sergeant responded. but we didn't give the other three members an opportunity to kind of tell us, based on the last 202 days of your life, what would you ask this committee in its body of work, what would you like to see us i will start with you. >> yes, sir. so the way i understand it there have been investigations into the events of january 6th. my understanding is that those have addressed some of the micro level concerns that being the immediate security of the capitol building itself, also
the forced mobilization of officers that day, planning and preparation and training and equipment concerns. a lot of, you know, the events of january 6 and the days preceding, i guess it's interesting from a law enforcement perspective as a police officer a lot of these events happened in plain sight. we had violent political rhetoric, we had the organization of a rally, whose title was stop the steal, and that that rally occurred on january 6th, which i don't believe was a coincidence that on january 6th members of congress you here in the room today were charged with tallying
the electoral votes and certifying the election of our president. in the academy we learn about time, place and circumstance in investigating potential crimes and those who may have committed them and so the time, the place and the circumstances of that rally, that rhetoric and those events to me leads in the direction of our president and other members, not only of congress in the senate, but that is what i am looking for is an investigation into those actions and activities which may have resulted in the events of january 6th and also whether or not there was collaboration between those members, their staff and these terrorists.
>> thank you very much. officer hodges? >> i think fanone hit the nail on the head there. as patrol officers we can only deal with the crimes that happen on the streets, the misdemeanors and occasionally the violent felonies, but you guys are the only ones we've got to deal with crimes that occur above us. i need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this. if anyone in power coordinated or aided or abetted or tried to downplay, tried to prevent the investigation of this terrorist
attack because we can't do it. we are not allowed to. i think majority of americans are really looking forward to that as well. >> thank you. officer dunn? >> thank you, chairman. there is a sentiment that's going around that says everybody is trying to make january 6th political. well, it's not a secret that it was political. they literally were there to stop the steal. so when people say it shouldn't be political, it is. it was and it is. there's no getting around that. telling the truth shouldn't be hard. fighting for -- fighting on january 6th, that was hard. showing up january 7th, that was
hard. the 8th, the 9th, the 10th all the way until today, that was hard. when the fence came down, that was hard. we lost a layer of protection that we had and the fence came down and still nothing has changed. everything is different but nothing has changed. liz cheney and adam kinzinger are being lauded as courageous heroes and while i agree with that notion, why? because they told the truth? why is telling the truth hard? i guess in this america it is. us four officers, we would do january 6th all over again. we wouldn't stay home because we knew what was going to happen. we would show up. that's courageous. that's heroic.
so what i ask from you all is to get to the bottom of what happened and that includes, like i echoed the sentiments of all of the other officers sitting here, i use an analogy to describe what i want as a hit man. if a hit man is hired and he kills somebody, the hit man goes to jail, but not only does the hit man go to jail but the person who hired them does. there was an attack carried out on january 6th and a hit man sent them. i want you to get to the bottom of that. thank you. >> well, thank you. very powerful comments, by the way. >> chairman thompson? >> yes. >> if i may, i also would like to also -- for you guys to give us the tools or at least the things we need to succeed to continue to protecting you guys.
i think that's essential for you guys to provide us what we need in terms of like financially. i don't know -- i'm not part of the innuendo about how that process works, but perhaps fortifying -- fortifying the capitol, that will help. i know we were literally desperate. if we had that that would have made a big difference on january 6. i know people want to keep this place open to the public as much as possible, but there are things that we could do to mediate that or also to reinforce entrances and whatnot. it's hard, but it takes will. i know -- i can tell the capitol had some regulations and whatnot, but the time had passed. we still have security measure
from 20 years ago. that had to go. we need to reinvent the wheel and change that, but only you guys have the power to authorize that. they won't do it unless you guys do. the other thing is we still are only operating on things that we can adjust, things that we were doing back when 9/11 happened, we're still doing it today, even six months after the attack on the capitol, but only you perhaps with the chief of police, the new chief of police, which he seems receptive to some of these changes perhaps that will change, but just like officer dunn said, we're still doing things that prior to january 6 we were doing and we're still doing it today. i think that needs to change. thank you. >> well, again, thank all of you
for your testimony and obviously you are real heroes in this situation. what you did in committee's opinion helped preserve this democracy. the time you gave for reinforcements to finally get to the capitol made the difference. so for that we thank you. but you carried out your duties at tremendous risk. now we on this committee have a duty, however a far less dangerous one, but an essential one, to get to the bottom of what happened that day. we cannot allow what happened on january 6 to ever happen again. we owe it to the american people, we owe it to you and your colleagues and we will not fail, i assure you, in that
responsibility. thank you again to our witnesses as well as our distinguished colleagues of the committee. any closing remarks? without objections members will be permitted ten business days to submit statements for the records including opening remarks and additional questions for witnesses. to appropriate staff at all meetings of the select committee. without objection the committee stands adjourned. how