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'This Is How I'm Going to Die': Officers Share Harrowing Testimonies of Defending Capitol on Jan 6th

(Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP)
(Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP)

Despite the drama of which GOP lawmakers would serve on the January 6th House select committee, the group composed of seven Democrats and two Republicans appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went ahead with their first hearing today.  

Lawmakers heard dramatic testimonies from police officers that described the day as a war, claiming they fought for their lives while severely outnumbered defending our nation's Capitol and protecting the lawmakers inside that day.  

The officers testified that January 6th was unlike any protest they'd ever seen before, but before the testimonies even started, Day 1 opened with chilling new video giving more insight into what the rioters were planning on the Capitol grounds that day.

"They've got the gallows set up outside the Capitol Building," yelled a rioter outside the Capitol in new video footage. "It's time to start f***** using them."

"Start making a list, put all those names down and we start hunting them down one by one (cheers)," yelled another in the video. "Traitors to the guillotine!"

Four members of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Departments recounted their experiences defending the Capitol.  

Some of them were stationed elsewhere that day, but rushed to Capitol Hill as soon as they heard the cries for help from their fellow police officers severely outnumbered by armed rioters.

"At the hospital, doctors told me I'd suffered a heart attack, and I was later diagnosed with a concussion, a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder," recalled D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone. 

"I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room, but too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist, or that hell actually wasn't that bad," continued Fanone. "The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful."

The officers described protestors beating them, spraying them with chemicals, and attempting to gouge out their eyes.

"I, too, was being crushed by the rioters," described Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police. "I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, 'this is how I'm going to die.'"

Gonell said he was confused to see some protestors beating officers while holding flags in support of the police or reading things like "Jesus saves." 

One officer claimed there were about 150 officers versus 9,000 insurrectionists.

"During the Black Lives Matter protests last year, U.S. Capitol Police had all the support we needed and more," claimed Sgt. Gonell. "Why the different response?" 

Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of two Republicans on the committee, argues we must get to the bottom of everything that happened before and during the attack.

"We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House," claimed Cheney. "Every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to and during the attack."

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who pulled his GOP committee appointees after Speaker Pelosi rejected two of them, argued this committee is a "sham."

"Speaker Pelosi will only pick on people onto the committee that will ask the questions she wants asked, that becomes a failed committee and a failed report," McCarthy told reporters.

Cheney claims if we don't figure out what happened and hold those responsible accountable, we risk seeing an insurrection after every future presidential election. 

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