Officer Injured in Capitol Riot Says Some Republicans' Minimizing of Insurrection Is 'Disgraceful'
Surrounded, Tasered multiple times and beaten with a flagpole outside of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by rioters, at least one of whom screamed "kill him with his own gun" as others tried to wrestle his weapon from his holster, Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police officer Mike Fanone pleaded for his life.
"I have kids," the father of four is heard saying on footage from his body-worn camera to those who threatened him after stealing his badge, spare ammunition and police radio, according to a video of the harrowing scene broadcast on CNN.
On Wednesday, during a Congressional hearing about security lapses on that day, several House Republicans attempted to downplay and recast Jan. 6 in less violent terms, and questioned whether supporters of former President Donald Trump were even at fault in storming the building to halt the certification of President Joe Biden's election.
"Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos, pictures," said Georgia Rep. Andrew S. Clyde, reports The Washington Post. "You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit."
Clyde said that describing the events as an "insurrection" was a "bold-faced lie."
The officer, who said he suffered a concussion and a heart attack during the violence, pushed back during an interview Thursday, telling CNN's Don Lemon, "Peddling that bullsh-t is an assault on every officer that fought to defend the Capitol. It's disgraceful."
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Watching the televised Congressional hearing left him "shaking for the better part of the day," said Fanone. "I was on the phone with dozens of other officers who were just absolutely traumatized by the rhetoric that was being used. And I understand politics. You know, I get that, you know, there's a push to try to, you know, win back the House in the midterm elections. I understand all of those things."
"But some things supersede politics," he said. "You know, this isn't about the political future of one party. This is about right and wrong."
The officer added: "I was surrounded. I was being violently assaulted from every direction."
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NBC News reports that more than 440 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack, which left broken windows and ransacked offices in its wake; five people died in connection with the attack, including Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick.
Clyde acknowledged that a "mob" was unleashed that day.
"As one of the members who stayed in the Capitol, and on the House floor, who with other Republican colleagues helped barricade the door until almost 3 p.m. from the mob who tried to enter, I can tell you the House floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection," he said, according to NBC News. "This is the truth."
Rioters did reach the floor of the vacated Senate chamber.
"There was an undisciplined mob," Clyde said. "There were some rioters, and some who committed acts of vandalism. But let me be clear, there was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie."
Clyde's fellow Georgia Republican, Rep. Jody Hice, said: "It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others."
Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter and believer in the baseless Q Anon conspiracy theory, was fatally shot by police as she and others attempted to breach a barricaded door inside the Capitol, video obtained by The Washington Post shows. The officer who fired the shot was not charged.
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Another Republican, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, claimed during Wednesday's hearing that Babbit had been "executed," according to the Post. He said law enforcement officials were "harassing peaceful patriots."
Rep. Ralph Norman, a Republican from South Carolina, challenged whether those in the mob who were outfitted in pro-Trump shirts, wearing "Make America Great Again" hats and carrying Trump flags were even Trump backers. "I don't know who did the poll to say that they were Trump supporters," he said, reports The New York Times.
Democrat Jamie Raskin of Maryland would have none of it. "Now we're getting this outrageous Orwellian revisionist history, where Donald Trump is out there saying that his most loyal followers came in — literally, he said, 'hugging and kissing' the Capitol officers," he said, according to the Times. "My colleagues should stop with all of the evasions, the diversions and the distractions. Let's figure out what happened to us on that day."
Officer Fanone told CNN that any effort to rewrite the narrative as anything other than an assault is wrong.
"I'm not a politician," he said. "I'm not an elected official. I don't expect anybody to give two sh-ts about my opinions. But I will say this, you know, those are lies."