A bipartisan group of three House members said Thursday that they will nominate Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman for the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor awarded by Congress, for facing off against a mob of rioters in the Capitol during the Jan. 6 siege and potentially saving the Senate.
"He's a hero!" said Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), who is introducing the resolution with Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). The Senate started evacuating a minute after Goodman lured a crowd of rioters away from a nearby door to the chamber, according to a video by HuffPost's Igor Bobic.
Goodman served in Iraq in the Army's 101st Airborne Division, but little else is known about him and he "isn't saying anything at all publicly — not to reporters, not on social media," The Associated Press reports.
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But Goodman isn't the only officer who showed heroism during the mob siege, and several D.C. Metropolitan Police reinforcements involved in the battle at the West Terrace told their harrowing stories to The Washington Post. One Capitol Police officer was killed by the rioters, and nearly 60 D.C. police officers and an unknown number of Capitol Police were injured.
D.C. officer Michael Fanone, 40, was filmed being bludgeoned with metal pipes and flag poles after the West Terrace mob dragged him down the entrance stairs. "We were battling 15,000 people," not 50, he told the Post. "It looked like a medieval battle scene." After the mob hit him with a stun gun, the Post adds, "Fanone suffered a mild heart attack and drifted in and out of consciousness."
Officer Daniel Hodges, 32, was captured in another viral video with his head being smashed in a door. Rioters tried to gouge his eyes out before he even got to the West Terrace tunnel, he told the Post. "The zealotry of these people is absolutely unreal," he said, adding that he didn't want to draw his gun "because I knew they had guns — we had been seizing guns all day" — and "we would have lost" in a firefight.
Rows of bludgeoned officers from D.C., then surrounding jurisdictions, fended off the rioters in hand-to-hand combat for hours. The West Terrace was "one of the few places where police prevented rioters from breaking through," the Post reports. "Had those rioters succeeded, authorities said, thousands more people could have poured into the Capitol, with possible catastrophic consequences." Read more war stories, and watch the disturbing videos, at The Washington Post.
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