By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The words rolled off U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn’s tongue so easily, yet it still proved as stunning an indictment as any ever leveled at former President Donald Trump.
“There was an attack on Jan. 6, and a hitman sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that,” Dunn said as the gallery gasped and he and other officers wiped away tears.
The emotional testimony came during the U.S. House of Representatives’ Jan. 6 commission’s inquiry into the capitol riots.
The committee, formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol, began hearings on Tuesday, July 27.
Dunn and three other officers highlighted the hearings by describing how they struggled to defend the Capitol and members of Congress.
With new video footage of the riot played during the hearing, the officers detailed how they were beaten and tased as Trump supporters stormed the building.
“At no point that day did I ever think about the politics of that crowd; even the things that were being said did not resonate in the midst of that chaos,” D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone told the congressional panel.
“But what did resonate was the fact that thousands of Americans were attacking police officers who were simply doing their job,” Fanone asserted.
He added his firm belief that government officials incited the riot.
“In retrospect now, thinking about those events, the things that were said, it’s disgraceful members of our government, I believe were responsible for inciting that behavior and then continue to propagate those statements, things like this was the 1776, or that police officers who fought, risked their lives in some who gave theirs wore red coats,” Fanone stated.
“To me, those individuals are representative of the worst that America has to offer.”
Daniel Hodges, another D.C. police officer, used the law to explain why he refers to the rioters as terrorists.
“U.S. Code title 18 part 1 chapter 1.1.3, B as in brown, section 126.96.36.199,” Hodges explained.
“The term domestic terrorism means activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state and B, appeared to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, or to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”
Dunn, who is Black, told the panel that the rioters used racial slurs when they approached him.
Dunn added that he’d encountered belligerent individuals before, but none like the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol.
“The only difference that I see … they had marching orders,” Dunn remarked.
He noted that one of the scariest episodes during the riot – and today – are the suspects who believe they had a right to carry out the attack.
“When people feel emboldened by people in power, they assume they are right,” Dunn continued. “And that makes for a scary recipe for the future of this county. I think that’s why it is important that you all take this committee seriously and get to the bottom of why this happened and let’s make it never happen again.”
While no additional hearings are scheduled, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the committee’s chair, reported that others could occur next month.
“We now have a body of testimony that we will review. We are in the process of putting that together,” Rep. Thompson said.
“I put some members on notice that they won’t enjoy the entire August recess, but we will give them time to work in their districts. Then, conceivably, we could come back before the end of August.”
PHOTO CREDIT: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wikiFile:DC_Capitol_Storming_IMG_7951.jpg