Capitol Police officer to Jan. 6 investigators: Rioters said ‘Trump sent us’

JIn gripping testimony Tuesday in front of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, police officers who were injured while fighting off rioters described in emotional detail what it was like on the front lines.

The hearing was the first for the committee, which was formed to probe the attack by radical supporters of former President Donald Trump. The rioters were attempting to disrupt the official certification of Joe Biden as president.

U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell told lawmakers how he was attacked by rioters and how he tried performing CPR in an attempt to save a woman who had breached the building.

“What we were subjected to that day was like something from a medieval battle; a violent mob intent of subverting our democracy,” Gonell said. “My fellow officers and I were committed to not letting any rioters breach the Capitol.

“It was a prolonged and desperate struggle. The rioters were shouting, ‘Trump sent us. Pick the right side.'”

Gonell said at one time he was crushed by the pushing bodies and feared for his life.

“This is how I’m going to die,” he recalled thinking, adding that family members were frantically trying to call him to see if he was okay.

“After giving CPR to one of the rioters who breached the Capitol in an effort to save her life, I finally had a chance to let my own family know that I was alive,” he said.

Michael Fanone, an officer of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police, said rioters overpowered him, attacked him with his own stun gun and tried to take his firearm.

“As I was swarmed by a violent mob, they ripped off my badge, stripped me of my radio and seized ammunition that was secured to my body,” he said. “They began to beat me with their fists and what felt like hard metal objects.

“I heard chatting from some in the crowd, ‘Get his gun and kill him with his own gun,'” he added. “I was electrocuted again and again with a Taser. I’m sure I was screaming, but I don’t think I could hear my own voice.”

Fanon said later at the hospital, doctors told him that he suffered a heart attack and a brain injury.

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