Praising the Officers Who Defended Our Nation’s Capitol

Nearly 8 months after the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, it’s important to remember what police officers endured while defending our democracy.

One of them was attacked with a flagpole and sprayed with a chemical.

Another heard someone say, “Kill him with his own gun,” before he was dragged into the crowd, beaten unconscious and repeatedly shocked with his own Taser.

A third was verbally pelted with racial slurs over and over before he was assaulted.

A fourth was crushed in a door, bashed in the head, and nearly lost an eye. 

Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell; Capitol Police Pfc. Harry Dunn; and D.C. Metropolitan Police Officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges testified Aug. 2 about the brutality they suffered at the hands of a mob of rioters while protecting the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The rioters had been trying to stop the certification of the presidential election. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina described the rioters who occupied the House floor as “terrorists, not patriots.”

The four police officers relived their harrowing experiences of that day while testifying before a select committee of the U.S. House of Representatives that is investigating the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Council 4 is grateful to the police officers who bravely defended our democracy on that dark day in January. We applaud the four officers who testified before Congress for their courage and their dedication to the truth,” said Council 4 Executive Director Jody Barr.

The Jan. 6 attack claimed the life of Ofc. Brian Sicknick, who died the next day after suffering two strokes he suffered while responding. Additionally, four police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol that have committed suicide: Gunther Hashida, Kyle deFreytag, Jeffrey Smith, and Howard Liebengood. 

Council 4 represents close to 2,000 municipal police officers throughout Connecticut. What happened to the responding officers at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 is a reminder of the perils they face while doing their jobs.

“First and foremost, our collective heart goes out to the families, friends and co-workers of the officers who courageously responded to the attack on our nation's Capitol,” said Sgt. Anna Tornello, President of the Wilton Police Union, AFSCME Local 1429.

She added, “The trauma they and their colleagues suffered that day is an inherent risk faced by all of us who have chosen to protect and defend our communities. Being a police officer is truly a call to public service, and we will always answer that call.”

Thanks to AFSCME International for sharing their depictions of the Jan. 6 attack and its aftermath.