July 27, 2021 4:20 PM | With information from .
15 minutes. Dressed in uniform, four police officers testified on Tuesday at the first session of the US Lower House committee investigating the January 6 assault on the Capitol by a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021). ).
Your statements will allow the committee to reconstruct what happened and clarify why the assault occurred, who is responsible, and what can be done to prevent another similar event.
These are their names and their stories:
Aquilino Gomell: an immigrant who defends the US
Sergeant Aquilino Gonell of the Capitol Police began his testimony by recalling his roots: he came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1992 and pledged allegiance to the American flag on several occasions, including when he acquired citizenship and when he went to fight in the war of Iraq.
At the age of 25, he went to fight that war wearing the American uniform, but he was never so scared as during the January 6 assault on the US Capitol.
That day, Gonell was beaten with the pole of an American flag and, as a result, injured both hands, his left shoulder, his left calf and his right foot. Additionally, Trump supporters doused him with so many chemical sprays that his skin burned for hours.
He came home at 4 in the morning and had to ask his wife not to hug him because of the amount of chemicals he still had on his uniform.
Despite everything, the next day at 8 in the morning he returned to the Capitol to work.
“As an immigrant who has come to the United States, – he said – I am especially proud to have defended the Constitution and democracy on January 6. I hope that all people in a position of authority in our country have the courage and conviction to do your part, to investigate what happened that horrible day and why. That investigation is essential to our democracy. “
Michael Fanone: Threatened with his own gun
Fanone is not part of the Capitol Police and was not among the agents assigned on January 6 to protect Congress, but he ended up being one of the most affected.
The 40-year-old agent worked for the Washington Metropolitan Police and was in another part of the capital when he received an emergency alert and rushed to the Capitol with a colleague.
Video recorded with his body camera that day shows how the mob beat him with a flag pole and shocked him repeatedly with their own stun gun (“taser”), before taking his badge and gun from him.
“I heard some in the crowd yelling, ‘Take away his gun and kill him with his own gun,'” Fanone recalled Tuesday.
The policeman begged them not to kill him. “I told them as loudly as I could: I have daughters,” he explained, recounting that he couldn’t stop thinking about his four girls and that he was fortunate that some in the crowd helped him out of the crowd.
Once at the hospital, doctors told him that he had “suffered a heart attack” and was later diagnosed with a “concussion, head injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Harry Dunn: Target of Racist Attacks
Dunn, the only black witness of the four who appeared on Tuesday, had been working as a Capitol policeman for 13 years when he had to respond not only to the assault on the legislative headquarters but to the “racist epithets” that the mob directed against him.
“No one, ever, ever, had called me ‘nigger’ (racist expression directed at African Americans) while wearing the Capitol police uniform,” he denounced during the hearing.
The 37-year-old police officer was the target of this “torrent” of insults when he confessed to the crowd that he had voted for the current president, Joe Biden, after they told him they were there to prevent his electoral victory from being certified. and comment that “no one” could have endorsed it.
“More than six months later, January 6 is still not over for me,” said Dunn, who assured that he continues to receive therapy for what happened.
Daniel Hodges: Cries for Help
Finally, agent Daniel Hodges voiced the helplessness that agents felt in the face of the constant attacks from Trump supporters, whom he referred to at all times as “terrorists.”
The experience of Hodges, of the local police of Washington, became one of the most well-known scenes because, after the attack, heartbreaking images were released in which he is seen crushed between a door frame and the mob of Trump supporters.
In the video, which was shown during the hearing, he is seen writhing in pain and screaming.
He recalled that, in addition, at that time one of Trump’s followers took advantage of the fact that he was in a situation of “vulnerability” to grab a gas mask and hit him on the head.
He even “put the phone in his mouth to have both hands free to attack me,” recalled Hodges, visibly upset during his appearance, in which he stopped several times to drink water.
Hodges was finally able to escape, but he continues to have injuries, like the rest of the agents.