DC Officer: Those Who Downplay Capitol Riot Brutality Are “Disgraceful”
Michael Fanone, the Metropolitan Police Department officer who survived an attempt by the pro-Trump mob to kill him with his own gun during the insurrectionist riot on Capitol Hill Jan. 6, is urging with Washington lawmakers to recognize the heroism of fellow officers who attempted to defend the building and calling those who deny the brutality of the attack “disgraceful.”
Fanone, who normally works undercover narcotics on the Metropolitan Police Crime Suppression team, did not need to be at the Capitol that day, but said that he self-deployed to answer a call for backup. He immediately became part of a group of officers trying to hold off thousands of rioters trying to break through a door on the west terrace of the Capitol. He was pulled into the crowd, beaten with poles, hit multiple times on the neck with a stun gun, rendered unconscious and suffered a mild heart attack. He was stripped of his badge and radio, and said someone tried to grab his firearm. The 20-year police force veteran suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury as a result of the assault.
“In many ways I still live my life as if it is January 07, 2021,” Fanone said in a letter obtained first by CBS News. “I struggle daily with the emotional anxiety of having survived such a traumatic event but I also struggle with the anxiety of hearing those who continue to downplay the events of that day and those who would ignore them altogether with their lack of acknowledgement. The indifference shown to my colleagues and I is disgraceful.”
Fanone did not name specific elected officials in his letter, and he wouldn’t comment on which lawmakers he believed were downplaying the attacks.
Fanone said the events of the day have weighed heavily on him. “As the physical injuries gradually subsided in crept the psychological trauma,” he wrote. Fanone described the attack as “brutal,” and in a January interview after the incident, told CBS News that while he was in the crowd, people began to grab for his gun and chant, “Kill him with his own gun.”
“The fighting here was nothing short of brutal,” Fanone wrote in the letter. “I observed approximately thirty police officers standing shoulder-to-shoulder maybe four or five abreast using the weight of their own bodies to hold back the onslaught of violent attackers.” He continued “many of these officers were injured, bleeding and fatigued but they continued to fight.”
Fanone urged elected officials to “fully recognize” officers’ actions that day, writing that officers saved “countless” members of Congress and their staff from “almost certain injury and even death.”
In a brief interview with CBS News, he said, “I’m not asking for some specific type of award or reward. However, the events of that day have been described by a lot of people, as well as elected officials, as the most significant attack on our democracy in 100 years. So what I would like to see is those officers who fought to defend democracy that day rewarded or recognized in a fashion that would be fitting for someone who defended democracy.”
His letter concludes: “It has been 119 days since 850 Metropolitan Police (MPDC) Officers responded to the Capitol and stopped a violent insurrection from taking over the Capitol Complex saving countless Members of Congress and their staff from almost certain injury and even death. The time to fully recognize these Officers actions is NOW!”