During his testimony Tuesday at the first House committee hearing to investigate the Capitol insurrection, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone denounced members of Congress who have downplayed and denied the events of Jan. 6.
Fanone, who was tased, beaten and stripped of his badge, said those who are denying the violence that occurred at the Capitol are “betray[ing] their oath of office.”
"The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” Fanone said, angrily slamming the table. “Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day.”
In the past few months, Republicans including Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have claimed there was no armed insurrection, with Johnson going as far as calling it a “peaceful protest.”
Fanone, a plainclothes narcotics officer who put on a uniform for the first time in nearly a decade to respond to the various calls for help coming from the Capitol on Jan. 6, made it clear that the insurrection was anything but peaceful.
“I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm as I heard chants of ‘Kill him with his own gun.’ I can still hear those words in my head today,” he said.
After Fanone was beaten unconscious, his partner, Jimmy Albright, who was also injured, brought him to the hospital.
“At the hospital, doctors told me that I had suffered a heart attack, and I was later diagnosed with a concussion, traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder,” Fanone said. He continues to struggle with the “trauma and emotional anxiety” that have stayed with him since that day.
Fanone said his decision to defend the Capitol, and now his decision to speak publicly about Jan. 6, was never about politics or political parties.
“All I’ve ever cared about is protecting you and the public so you can do your job in service to this country and for those whom you represent,” he said, directly addressing members of Congress.
“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. Too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist, or that hell wasn’t that bad.”
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