One police officer who was on duty during the US Capitol Riots described it as a “medieval battlefield scene”, in which he was beaten, tasered and then suffered a heart attack.
Sky News’ Michael Fanone said that he believed he would die from becoming isolated from his colleagues during The riots 6 January 2021.
According to the former officer, the hearings of the committee investigating the riots were important for getting to the root causes of violence and establishing if there was coordination by former president Donald Trump.
The committee has accumulated a vast amount of material related to the riots. This includes transcripts from more than 1000 interviews and millions of documents. Today’s last hearing is scheduled. The final report will be due in December.
After hearing distress calls from officers on the scene, Fanone recalls the events of the day.
Sky News interviewed him: “We made it to the lower west terrasse, where the president-elect walks from the Capitol to the inaugural stage to take his oath.
“The pinnacle in the fighting that day was at this location, where approximately 40 to 50 DC police officers and several US Capitol officers tried to stop thousands of angry rebels from entering the Capitol complex.
It was about the width of four to five officers standing side by side, about 200-250 feet in length, and these officers were fighting for lives.
“When I arrived, the (police officers), had been fighting for approximately 90 minutes. My colleagues looked tired and hurt and I felt like I was fresh. I wanted to get to the front.
“We were subject to chemical agitants, CS gas and bear spray. There was also a variety of weapons, including aluminium baseball bats, scaffolding, metal poles, scaffolding, riot guards and other police weapons that had been taken away from officers. Also, there were firearms.
There was much screaming and shouting. The rioters were actually pushing officers against their bodies, trying to force them out of the tunnel entrance.
Imagine a rugby scrum. It was officers standing shoulder-to-shoulder, and these rioters were pushing up against us. It was like a medieval battle scene. It was impossible to pass a credit card between two persons.
“The only other equipment I carried was my duty belt and my service weapon. A helmet and a riot shield were the only things that I had.
“I was taken from the police line to the crowd where I was beaten with a Taser device and struck at the base my skull. It’s extremely painful, especially when done in rapid succession. In the end, I had a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury.
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Mr Fanone said, “Once you were out in the crowd I recall being struck from all directions with fists or metal objects. I do recall at one point shouting out that I had children to appeal to some of the humanity of others in the crowd. At that moment, I was being shot with the Taser device.
“The only thing that was on my mind was how to survive this situation. Though I considered using deadly force (weapon), I quickly realized that it would not lead to my survival. There were thousands upon thousands of rioters, and there is a specific police protocol for how to use deadly force.
“While I might have been authorized to use deadly force against certain individuals, there was a possibility that some people would suffer injuries, and even be killed, which I did not intend. I was also worried about losing my gun.
“I chose to appeal to people’s humanity and use psychological warfare. I also said that I had children. I was offered assistance by some of the rioters.
“There were other rioters fighting with them over my ability to get to them, to continue assaulting me. It was quite a bizarre dynamic for a while until I was rescued by my fellow colleagues.”
42-year-old Mr Fanone says that he felt his life was in peril when he first saw the situation at the Capitol.
He stated that he thought, “When I first walked into this tunnel, there was a strong possibility that it was much more dangerous than what I realized going in, and that there was the potential for me to lose my life.”
Former police officer and now law enforcement analyst, he has testified to the House committee that was established to investigate the attack at the Capitol.
Before the final hearing, Mr Fanone, who wrote a book called “Hold the Line”, stated that the hearings were important because an investigation is needed, not only into the crime committed but also to determine the root causes of January 6.
“Was there any coordination with elected members, members of Trump’s administration or the former president?”
“I don’t know if it is possible to change the hearts and minds of everyone about that day and who was responsible, but you can make sure that those who break the law are punished accordingly.
“That’s why our Republic was founded on the rule of Law – it’s the great equalizer.”