Capitol Police Will Receive Congressional Gold Medals to Honor 'Bravery and Patriotism' During Jan. Riots
U.S. Capitol and Washington, D.C. Metro Police officers will be awarded Congress' highest honor — a Congressional Gold Medal — with the White House announcing that President Joe Biden would sign a measure that will award the group for its service during the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riots.
The bill, which Biden will sign Thursday evening at the White House, calls for the Treasury Department to award three total gold medals: one to the Capitol police headquarters, one to the Metropolitan Police Department and one that will go on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
While the law enforcement officers being honored protected the lives of Congressional lawmakers (who were gathered inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 to certify the election results), the measure to honor them wasn't without its opponents.
A dozen Republicans in the House voted against the measure — spearheaded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — due to issues they had with the way it was worded.
In describing the events of the riots, the bill reads: "On January 6, 2021, a mob of insurrectionists forced its way into the U.S. Capitol building and congressional office buildings and engaged in acts of vandalism, looting, and violently attacked Capitol Police officers."
Some of those who voted against it said they took issue with the word "insurrectionists" to characterize those who breached the Capitol complex, forcing the evacuation of both Republican and Democratic lawmakers as the mob ransacked offices and called out for politicians like then-Vice President Mike Pence.
Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer. Four law enforcement officers who responded to the deadly riots have since died by suicide.
The Senate, meanwhile, unanimously passed the measure on Wednesday, with lawmakers offering remarks about the importance of the honor.
In remarks made on the Senate floor Tuesday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said of the honor, "I cannot imagine more worthy recipients than the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend this temple of democracy."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar echoed Schumer's remarks.
"We must pass this legislation honoring the Capitol Police and other heroes who protected the Capitol on Jan 6 by awarding them this congressional gold medal," Klobuchar said. "It's important that we recognize the bravery and patriotism of those who defended our democracy and our lives with Congress' highest honor."
Last week, four Capitol Police Officers gave emotional testimonies during day one of a House Committee hearing on the Jan. 6 riots, explaining how they fought for their own lives while working to protect the building and the lawmakers inside.