Speed Reads

January 6 Hearings

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards describes Jan. 6 attack as 'carnage' and 'chaos'

Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was briefly knocked unconscious during the Capitol attack, testified on Thursday night during the Jan. 6 committee's public hearing that she witnessed "carnage" and "chaos," adding, "Never in my wildest dreams did I think that as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle."

Edwards told the panel that she was "called a lot of things on Jan. 6, 2021," including "Nancy Pelosi's dog," "incompetent," "hero," "villain," and "traitor to my country, my oath, and my Constitution." In fact, she was "none of those things," Edwards said. "I was an American standing face to face with other Americans, asking myself many, many times how we had gotten here." This, she added, was the first time her "patriotism" and "duty" had been called into question.

As supporters of former President Donald Trump started arriving at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Edwards was one of the officers at the edge of the Capitol lawn. The panel played footage showing the crowd surge and a bike rack being thrown at Edwards, who fell down, hit her head on the stairs, and lost consciousness. After coming to and returning to duty, was also burned by a chemical spray rioters used against officers.

Edwards told the committee that once she got up after being tear-gassed, she began slipping on the blood that had fallen on the ground. "It was carnage, it was chaos, I can't even describe what I saw," she said. "I'm trained to detain a couple of subjects and handle a crowd, but I'm not combat trained, and that day it was hours of hand-to-hand combat, hours of dealing with things that were way beyond what any law enforcement officer had trained for. I remember that moment of stepping behind the line and seeing the absolute war zone that the west front had become."

Several other officers who were injured at the Capitol on Jan. 6 attended the hearing, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn; U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell; Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges; and Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone.