tv Craig Melvin Reports MSNBC July 27, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT
i also want to thank and acknowledge my brothers and sisters in blue that fought alongside me on january 6th to protect our democracy. each of you is a hero and it's my honor to serve alongside of you each and every day. i would 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 anyone person and any one party. you all tried to disrupt democracy that day. you all failed. thank you again for the opportunity to testify and i would be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you very much. i thank all the witnesses for
their testimony. the rules we established allows you the opportunity to tell your story. there's no question about it. you have done it in your own words. we appreciate it. what we will do now is get begin our questioning of you, and i 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 the 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, as a narcotics officer you were not supposed to be at the capitol on january 6th, is
that right? >> yes, sir, that's 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 those transmissions he identifies himself as 50. in addition to the numerous distress calls or 1033s that i heard, which while are not commonplace, also not uncommon in policing. i heard things like, you know, the declaration of a city-wide 10-33, which in my career, to my recollection has 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 out numbered and being violently assaulted. >> thank you. so basically the radio traffic, 10-33 signal on the radio, and your basic law enforcement instincts said that 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 have seen the harrowing video of you being
crushed in a doorway as you bravely fought to keep the mob from breaching the capitol. many of they were not shared to the public. >> one of my sergeants, sergeant brian peak, while trying to maintain control of the barricades on the west terrace was struck by a rioter and fractured and severely lacerated his right index finger. he kept in the fight for several more hours after that and put tape and a napkin on it and went back to work. he was there for several hours before finally accepting medical evac. he ended up having to have the tip of his finger removed. another officer who was out
there in the fight with us, he, much like myself, he had a large heavy object thrown and struck his head. he was not as lucky as me. he suffered lost time on that day and remains out on medical leave. even today he has not returned to work, but at the time he was still fighting. another officer who was on the west end of the tunnel was instrumental to the fence after being soaked by the spray, he was shocked by a cattle prod one of the terrorists brought with him. when i went over my opening statement before, i mentioned we were attacked outside the secondary defense line on the terrace, and after we rallied there we continued onward.
i know a police officer found a capitol police officer being dragged into the crowd and he charged in there by himself and got that officer out of there, and in the process hyperextended his knee and took several other injuries. "the washington post" estimated there were about 9,400 terrorists out there, and i would say we had about 150, 175 officers. anyone of them could tell you any amounts of heroic acts or injuries they sustained, but these are just a few that i know of. >> thank you very much. >> officer pinel, you talked about your tour in iraq and what have you, and thank you for your service. can you give the committee a
sense of comparing that those two experiences with what you experienced on january 6th? >> back when i was in iraq, i was on a mission to provide the needed support or taking care packages and what not to my other units. we would go to the roadside bomb, the convoys, and my fear was minimal around that time, and it was not as constant. we knew at that time that we could go over -- run over an ied and that was it, but at least we knew we were in combat.
here in our country, at the capitol, we're being attacked, not once but multiple times. >> can you pull the microphone to your chest? >> sorry. not only were we attacked one time but multiple times, over and over. different people. they hit us and they got tired of hitting us and then they switch, somebody else rotating in and out. as my colleagues also had said, we were at the lowest entrance tunnel, and we didn't have a chance to rotate ourselves until later, like an hour and a half later. so whoever was there, we were fighting for our lives, and we were fighting to protect all of you at that time, and at that time, that main entrance, that
was it, that was the point of breach. we were not letting them in. they tried to convert us, and tried to persuade us to let them in, yell, and once they saw we were not doing that they continued to attack us even more, and it was nonstop. my time compared to iraq, totally different. this is our own citizens. people who you swore an oath to protect but they were 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, and you
talked about -- you talked about like you never heard it before, and you talked about sharing comments from the other colleagues as well as seeing the confederate flag and other things carried through the capitol. as an african-american law enforcement officer, can you give us, this committee, and those who are watching, how you felt in the capitol that day being called that and seeing the symbols of the confederacy going through the capitol at the same time? >> yes, sir. thank you for your question. to be frank, while the attack was happening i didn't view
it -- i was not 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. it was just so overwhelming. it's 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 did not 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 will defend this country, and everybody in the building, not just the members, guest, staff, everybody. it just hurts that we have people in this country that resort to that regardless of your actions and what you desire to do to make a difference out there. it's disheartening. >> thank you. but because of your heroism on that day, lives were saved and our democracy was preserved in large part because you gave -- y'all, all of you, for that day, on january 6th. i am sure this committee will ensure there's a comprehensive
account of your actions that day. the chair now recognizes the gentle woman from wyoming, senator cheney is recognized. >> thank you to all of the witnesses for your heroism and bravery that day and for being here today and telling your story. i certainly join the chairman and every member of this committee and our commitment to making sure that we get to the truth and that those that did this are accountable. officer gonell, i would like to ask you -- you describe in your testimony as it being like a mid evil battlefield, and what you were subjected to was like
fighting in an midevil battlefield. i believe you said you really thought you were the last line of defense, is that right? >> that is correct. >> so officer, when you -- >> sergeant. >> when you think about that, and 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 he, himself, helped to create, this monstrosity. i am 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, then we should all go to his house and do the same thing to him. to me, it's insulting, 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 supporter to stop this nonsense, he egged them to continue fighting. i was in the lowest west terrace fighting alongside these officers, and all of them -- all of them were telling us trump sent us. nobody else -- there was nobody else. it was not antifa or black lives matter or the fbi. it was his supporters that he sent them over to the capitol
that day, and he could have done a lot of things, and one of them was to tell them to stop. he talks about sacrificing -- sacrifices, and the only thing he sacrificed was the institutions of the country for his ego because he wants to continue -- 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 that the seed of democracy was the seed of the government. you talk 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 by obligation as a police officer to not only protect lives of the members of congress and their staff, but also to my fellow officers. the politics of that day really did not play into my response at all. >> thank you. >> officer hodges, in your testimony you talk about when you were at the elipse and you mentioned a significant number of men dressed in tactical gear attending the gathering, wearing vests and goggles, and when you saw that was that something you anticipated at all and could you tell us more about the crowd
there at the elipse that you saw was clearly in military or paramilitary garb? >> it was concerning. they had shielding, goggles, face masks, and backpacks filled with unknown objects, and i couldn't get an account and we couldn't stop and search everyone, so i don't know how many there were, but it was obviously a concern of mine. >> thank you very much. finally, officer dunn you mentioned the text message you received and you expressed surprise, and you mentioned you had not seen any intelligence that would have led you to believe that you should expect that kind of violence. could you elaborate on that a little bit? >> yes, ma'am. so we were expecting civil
disobedience as we do at the capitol, at least that is 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 like we experienced. when i received the text message, it made the hairs on my neck rise, but since our chain of command had not told us to prepare for any of these levels of violence, i was, like, okay, whatever, i have been here, i start year 14 in november and i have dealt with hundreds of protests where people get arrested, and peaceful first amendment protests, everybody has the right to protests, okay? do what you do, and we'll arrest you if you break the law and
we'll go home later that night. it was a lot different than that. the text message i got foreshadowed that looking back, but -- no, we were not prepared for what we faced that day. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i would ask unanimous consent if we could add that complete text message to the record. >> yes. >> i want to thank you for what you did to save us, and it won't be forgotten and we will get to the bottom of this. thank you very much. >> the chair recognizes the gentle woman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to each one of you and your colleagues for what you did. 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 the violent mob from invading the capitol. i want to thank you for your tremendous courage and stamina and heroism. not just myself, i know there are many others that work in this capitol not only to the staff and members of congress, but the food service workers who were present, and the clerical staff, you saved them as well. 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 and i want to pledge to you that we will work with the capitol police to make sure that the resources, the mental health unit has the resources that officers need. i will make that pledge to you right now. i would like to ask sergeant gonell, not everybody knew you were fighting in the hallway on the lower west terrace on january 6th. can you tell me what you went through in that hallway, and while you were there, the metropolitan police arrived to help you out. what difference did that make? >> sure, ma'am. before i start, i -- in no mean am i suggesting that we go to his house. i apologize for my outbursts.
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 did not have a lot of support. we had probably, like, 50 officers at most when we went back in. once we were there, we decided -- saying to ourselves, this is it, this is the entrance they are going to try and breach and we are going to hold the line and do everything possible, we were coordinating among ourselves, people, the few officers who were still carrying shields, we automatically positioned them in the front. some of the shields were taken and ripped apart from the officers' hands.
some of the officers got concussed because they were hit with the same shields they were holding, it was so silently taken from them they were concussed. there we had multiple struggles in terms of fighting. my shield was round. i was able to get some strikes but because we were so close quarters, it was hard for us to even do that. the only thing we were allowed to do was push forward. whoever had shields stayed in front, and people behind those with shields, they were striking the 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 into the crowd.
luckily i was able to free myself and stand up. later on, the second time i went back up to the front, that's when officer hodges was getting trampled -- i was getting trampled because just the mere force of rioters pushing forward and the police officers pushing out, we were getting trampled in the middle. it was very terrible what happened to us. >> officer, before i ask you a question, i would like to show a brief video clip of some of what you went through today. i know it could be difficult to watch but i think it's important for the public to see. [ inaudible ]
>> i've got kids. >> we need emts, now! >> mike, stay in there, buddy! i'm here. >> almost all of that is from your body camera footage. can you walk us through what we have just seen, officer. >> the first portion of that began, it was my footage from the crypt part of the capitol in the rotunda. i heard the distress call out
from the west terrace tunnel, which was just a few hundred yards away from where i was at. i told my partner, jimmy albrecht, who was there with me that there was a 10-33 coming out from the lower west terrace. we tried to get our bearings and figure out which way that might be, and we asked a group of capitol police officers and they direct 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, a sergeant bill bognor, who was an administrative sergeant and used to work in my district, and now he's at the academy, and he was sprayed in the face with bear mace. i told him it was me, and he
stretched out his hand to shake mine, and that's when he told me the guys 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 had been fighting since around 1:00 p.m. it was 3:00, and those guys had been fighting for two hours unrelieved. i remember looking up through the set of double doors. there's glass panes. you could see the gas, the white powder, still lingering in the air. it was then i realized i probably should have brought my gas mask. i went through the doors and i saw ramey kyle, who was at the time with our criminal investigations, overseeing detective units.
like many officers, 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 the initial hall, that hallway, as he kind of cleared himself, straightened himself up. i described it before, and 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, and i followed him. it was at that point that i think when i started to approach 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, and maybe i could try and get in there and get some guys some help, so i told jimmy that we needed to get in there and try to offer 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. i remember somebody yelling out, this guy needs help. he handed me that officer, 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 clothing adorn 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. 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 have injured officers in here, and that really seemed to piss those guys off. they became incredibly violent and that's when the 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 accomplished that, they would have trampled us to death, and most certainly you would have had police officers killed. i fought there at the front for sometime. 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 and out through the
initial thresh way -- threshold. i remember thinking to myself, man, it's good to get some fresh air. it was at that point 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 probably about 250, maybe 300 feet from the mouth of the tunnel where the other officers were at. i knew i was in -- i was up [expletive] creek without a paddle. i was trying to create space and all the while i recognized the fact that there were individuals that were trying to grab a hold
of my gun. i remember one of them distinctly lunging at me time and time again trying to grab my gun. i heard people in the crowd yelling, get his gun, kill him with his own gun and words to that affect. 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.
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, and based off of the body-worn camera footage, it's believed that i was unconscious for approximately four minutes. >> thank you, officer. thanks to each one of you. our country is lucky, really,
blessed that you are as pay tree automatic and brave as you are. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman, and thank you to our colleagues on the committee and thank you to the witnesses. i never expected today to be as quite as emotional for me as it has been. a talked to a number of you and have gotten to know you. i think it's important to tell you right now, though, you guys may, like, individually feel a little broken. you guys all talk about the affects you have to deal with, and you talk about the impact of that day. but you guys won. you guys held. you know, democracies are not defined by our bad days.
we'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 employees on the capitol conplex to the american people that deserve the truth. self governance is at stake.
that's why i agreed to serve on this committee. i want to know what happened that day, and 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. i am 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 violence, and most importantly we need to reject those that promote it. as a country it's time to learn from our past mistakes, and rebuild stronger so this never happens again, and then we can move onword. i am here to not 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 were not prepared because we never imagined this could happen. that's a lesson. we don't blame victims, we go after the criminals. mr. chairman, i was called on to serve during the riots as a national guardmen. i condemn the riots and the destruction, and not once did i feel the future of self
governance was threatened like on january 6th. there's a difference between rejecting the rule of law, and as we begin our work today i want to call this committee's attention to the oath of office, an oath not to a party or individual but to the constitution that represents all americans. everyone, an elected office knows how hard it can be to preserve and protect the constitution of the united states, and with the political pressures and re-electtions always around the corner. mr. chairman, our witnesses today like every law enforcement across the country took the oath like we did. while we were whisked away from the danger, heroes like those
here stood their post before it and paid the price and we're only here now because you guys were here then. therefore it's altogether fitting that we begin our investigation of january's lawless attack against the constitution with these four men, and we made sure they did not succeed, to make sure that democracy held. i think it's important to remember that you here with stories and there are hundreds with stories as well. officer fanone, 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 i get that we hear out there it's time to move on,
right, it has been six whole months. time to move on. does this feel like old history and time to move on, where 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. >> i echo that. how do you move on without correcting what happened? >> let me ask you all, what are the narratives out there? officer fanone, it triggered something in your testimony when you said it, so there has been an idea that this was not an armed insurrection, as if somehow that's a justification for what happened. we know the hugs and kisses, and it was blm and antifa, and i am sure you would want to investigate that if that was the
case, and now we heard the fbi may have started this, and many have held it was not a armed insurrection. let me ask 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 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? i'm asking, is it possible that maybe people had guns -- we have seen that actually there were, but this idea that, wow, people were not arrested with guns, and at the time it was raw survival. let me start on the left there, what is your response to that? >> for those people that continue to down play this
violent attack on our democracy and our officers, i suggest to 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 flagpole, including the american flag. pepper spray, bear spray. you name it, you have all of these items and the things 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 the democrats in there or independents, and it
was every single body here in this 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 that was -- there were other breaches in the capitol. our intent was to stop whoever was trying to come in through that door. those weapons that were used, those were common items, and the way they were using it was as weapons. >> let me ask in my final moments, sergeant gonell, and officer hodges, were you a guardman, i believe? >> yes. >> at anytime in your service, and i'm a air guardsman, and you
mentioned your time in iraq, sergeant, and did you change how you defended the person to your left or right based on their political affiliation? >> no, sir. >> no. >> the way i view it at that time, i'm an american and the person next to me is an american, and i would do everything possibly for me to defend him and the country at that time. >> you guys did that, you guys did that in the blue. >> yes, sir. >> i want to say that is the mission of this committee. we may have deep differences on other policy issues, but we are all americans today, and we thank you for holding that line. >> congressman, if i may respond -- >> yes. >> -- the congressman. when you asked about the armed part, when the officers showed me what appeared to be a police
badge, i don't know too many police officers -- this is just me being a police officer for 13 years that carry their badge and don't carry a gun with them, so i look on their hips and you see a print. i didn't see it was a gun, but a reasonable police officer would believe that that's a gun on their hip. >> so just to be specific, a print is what looks like the outline of a gun? >> that's correct. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you to the witnesses. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. schiff. >> i was on the house floor from the beginning of the joint session until the attack and evacuation by the capitol police and i want to thank you. i am convinced one of the lives you saved that day might very well have been my own. we were all gravely in your debt. you are all heroes.
sergeant gonell, i won't ask you to repeat your experience, and i would like the public to see video from your perspective if you are comfortable with me showing it. >> that's fine. >> roll that, please, clerk. >> you are going to die tonight. . >> show them how to lock the shields together and hold the shields. >> go ahead! [ inaudible ] >> back up! no! stop! stop!
>> sergeant, in that video one of the first things you hear is somebody saying you're going to die tonight. you described in your opening statement being crushed by rioters. rioters. you could feel yourself losing oxygen thinking this was how your life was going to end, trampled to death defending the capitol. it's hard for any of us to understand what you went through even though we were there. it's even harder for people around the country to know what it was like. can you tell us what it was like when you were losing oxygen and thought that would be the end. >> my rationale out there the way i was thinking was we can't let these people in no matter what, even if it cost my life.
that bloody hand that you saw, that was me there and both my hands were bleeding bad, and at no point in time did i stop to consider to 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, the attackers from coming in. i swore an oath to protect the public, members of congress and the united states constitution, and that's 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 ones
committing the treasonous acts that day. it was devastating and demoralizing for people, whatever the party is, to call this attack and continue to minimize it like nothing happened. it was an attempt coup that was happening in the capitol that day, and if it had been another country the u.s. would have sent help. people need to understand that it is -- the magnitude of the event that day. we were all fighting for our lives. to give them, to give you guys a chance to go home to your family, to escape and now the same people who we helped, the same people who we gave them the borrowed time to get to safety,
now they're attacking us. they're attacking our characters, attacking officer harry's character. people who never served in the military or as a law enforcement. it's a disgrace. my actions that day was to save you guys regardless of my personal safety and i still want to continue to do that, today, tomorrow as long as i am permitted to do it, and if it is demanded of myself to do that in the future. >> sergeant, obviously, it had a deep impact on you, all of you, but its also had a big impact on your family. you described how when you got home you couldn't even hug your wife because you had chemicals all over you. you wanted to go back. it seems like no sooner you got home you wanted to go back. >> yes, sir. >> i think i read you felt
guilty. did your wife want you to go back? >> no. >> why did you want to 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. she -- i told her i have to get some sleep because i've got to go back to work. she said no, you're not. you're hurt. i said no, i'm still able to carry out my duties and by 8:00 i was already on my way back despite her concerns and for my safety. my sense of duty for the country, for the constitution was bigger than even my wife and my son. i put that ahead and for me --
it's confounding that some people who have sworn an oath, elected officials including people in the military that i seen at the lower stairs fighting against me. they swore an oath and they're forgetting about the oath. they are now putting the country before the party and that's what bothers me the most. because for me, as a soldier i know what that inherits with an oath, and i am still willing to do that. 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 trials and everything that happened to us. it's pathetic and they shouldn't
be elected officials anymore. >> officer dunn, you describe talking to your fellow black officer about what you went through in experiencing those racial epithets. you asked a question, i think that i've been haunted by ever since, is this america? and i'm very interested to know your thoughts on that very question. is this america, what you saw? >> thank you for your question. i've done a few interviews about my experience that day, and i said 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 it was 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 and just because of the way we look, you know? to answer your question, i guess that is america. it shouldn't be, but i guess that's just the way things are. i don't condone it. i don't like it, but i mean, if you look at our history, our american history, things are -- country's exist because they won a war. boundaries exist because of violence and wars like it sounds
silly, but i guess it is america. it's not the side of america 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 and 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. so i -- that's encouraging. it's encouraging. so that's the side of america, this is america and this is the side that i like and the side that i 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 mean, and risk their lives to defend it. i like to think as amanda gorman so eloquently put it, that we're not unbroken. we're just unfinished because if we are 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 iledge lit mat because they didn't go our way god help us. ever so driven by bigotry and hate that we attack our fellow citizens as traitors if they're 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, leader, but it must be a thing today, but i am so grateful to all of you and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. aguilar. >> thank you. like my colleagues i want to extend my gratitude and appreciation for your service on january 6th and since then what you had to go through. i was on the floor on january 6th when i was told a violent mob had breached the capitol and it was because of your service. it was because of you and your colleagues that we are here today because you were literally the last line of physical