Capitol riot inquiry invokes emotional police testimony

A special congressional panel dedicated to investigating the attack on the US Capitol on January 6 held its first hearings on Tuesday. The Select Committee on the January 6th Insurrection heard from four police officers who defended the building from the rioters.

Officer Aquilino Gonell said he and other police experienced “horrific and devastating” physical violence during the riot. Officer Michael Fanone said he was beaten and tased during the Capitol breach. He said he heard rioters say “kill him with his own gun”.

Another Washington D.C. officer, Daniel Hodges, referred to the rioters as “terrorists” and said they are in a “cult.” US Capitol officer Harry Dunn, an African-American, said he was met with racial slurs from the rioters.

After the officers gave their testimonies, they were questioned by lawmakers during the hearing. Republican panel member Liz Cheney of Wyoming asked Gonell how it feels to hear former President Donald Trump call the mob a “loving crowd.”

Gonell said Trump’s remarks are “upsetting” and added that “it’s a pathetic excuse for his behavior, for something that he himself helped create.”

Some observers believe former President Donald Trump incited the rioters due to his false allegations that the 2020 election was rigged against him. Trump held a rally close to the Capitol before the riot, and urged supporters to “stop the steal” of the election.