D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges detailed the attacks on him and his fellow officers on Jan. 6 as they defended the Capitol, calling the perpetrators “terrorists.”
“The terrorists alternated between attempting to break our defense or shouting at or attempting to convert us,” he said. “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 touch us, we’re not Black Lives Matter,’ as if political affiliation is how we determine when to use force.”
Hodges was testifying at the first hearing of a special House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, when hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop the formal counting of electoral votes.
“A man attempted to rip the baton from my hands, and we wrestled for control. I retained my weapon, and after I pushed him back he yelled at me, ‘You’re on the wrong team,’” Hodges said. “One man tried and failed to build a rapport with me, shouting, ‘Are you my brother?’ Another takes a different tack, shouting, ‘You will die on your knees.’”
“Even during this intense contest of wills, they tried to convert us to their cult,” he said. “One man shouted, ‘We all just want to make our voices heard, and I think you feel the same. I really think you feel the same,’ all while another man tries to batter us with a stolen shield.”
Hodges said that he was struck in the head and chest and that his radio was stolen — leaving him in the dark as to whether reinforcements would be arriving — in addition to being sprayed with tear gas, Mace and wasp spray. He added that those assaulting the Capitol used the officers’ batons and shields against them, and that one man used Hodges’s own gas mask to slam his head into a metal doorframe before ripping it off his head. Another man then pulled Hodges’s baton away and bashed him in the face, rupturing his lip. Hodges said he was concerned about being dragged into the crowd and lynched.
He also detailed the flags that were being flown by those leading the charge, saying there was a variation of American flags and Trump flags, as well as Gadsden flags, the yellow banners with an image of a snake and the “Don’t tread on me” slogan associated with the tea party movement.
“It was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be Christians,” Hodges continued. “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 crossed rifles beneath the skull, emblazoned with the pattern of the American flag. To my perpetual confusion, I saw the ‘thin blue line’ flag, a symbol of support for law enforcement, more than once being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us.”
Hodges said another man asked for him to hand over his riot gear, saying, “Do you think your little peashooter guns are going to stop this crowd?” The officer added that those attempting to overthrow the government called law enforcement “traitors.”
“There was plenty of booing,” Hodges said of the moments before things escalated. “A woman called us stormtroopers. Another woman who was part of the mob of terrorists laying siege to the Capitol of the United States shouted, ‘Traitors.’”
Five people died as a result of the riot, and dozens were injured. Trump was impeached for his role in inciting the incident but was not convicted in the then-Republican-controlled Senate. An attempt at a bipartisan commission was opposed by House GOP leadership and failed in the Senate after Republicans rejected it earlier this year.
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