The first congressional hearing for the January 6th Capitol riot took place on Tuesday and Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone gave his emotional testimony in support of fellow officers.
Fanone spoke out about how he and other officers were physically assaulted by the mob of Trump supporters when they responded to the riots, only for Congress to trivialise the trauma they experienced over the following days.
"The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!" Fanone said as he slammed his hand down on the table.
Fanone pounds the table as he says, "the indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!"
"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," he adds pic.twitter.com/LrJOxT0ueh
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 27, 2021
Fanone and 4 other law enforcement officers spoke to the congressional panel assembled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The panelists include 7 Democrats and 2 Republicans: Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
During his remarks, Fanone recounted seeing one Metropolitan Police officer, Ramey Kyle, "struggling to breathe" after being surrounded by chemical gas before he quickly got himself together and returned to the line.
"The fighting in the lower west terrace tunnel was nothing short of brutal," Fanone recalled. "Here I observed approximately thirty police officers standing shoulder to shoulder, 4 or 5 abreast, using the weight of their bodies to hold back the onslaught of violent attackers." When he and his partner offered to take the place of other officers, they declined, instead choosing to stay and protect the people inside the building.
Fanone later admitted that he was beaten, repeatedly electrocuted, and even had his badge and radio taken from him while on duty. There was "a very good chance I would be torn apart or shot with my own weapon," he said until he informed the crowd he had children, resulting in some rioters trying to get him to safety.
After the riots ended, Fanone said doctors told him he experienced a heart attack at the Capitol and later suffered post-traumatic stress disorder because of the ordeal.
"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 downplaying or outright denying what happened," Fanone said.
"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 wasn't actually that bad," he said, before adding he was disgusted at the "disgraceful" indifference shown to his colleagues.
He went on: "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 other 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."
5 people died and more than 140 people were injured as a result of the violent attack on the U.S Capitol building on January 6th. Thousands of Donald Trump supporters charged the prestigious building following an aggressive rally held by the former POTUS, in which he encouraged them to "fight like hell" and "take the election back."
Many of those responsible for the violence have since been arrested and are facing charges for their actions.