Ex-police officer recounts harrowing tale of Capitol riots

Capitol Police officer says he was 'afraid' during January protests

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An ex-police officer suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury during the January 6 Capitol riot. His recollection of the incident comes ahead of what will likely be the final committee hearing on the issue today.

Michael Fanone told Sky news how he and his partner, Jimmy Albright, made their way towards the riot after hearing distress calls from fellow officers.

Upon reaching the fray, they discovered 40 or 50 DC police officers “fighting for their lives” amid violent protests.

Mr Fanone then attempted to make his way to the front of the melee. When he reached it he was confronted by rioters with numerous types of weapons.

He said: “We had chemical agitants being used against us, CS gas, bear spray, as well as a number of different types of weapons – everything from aluminium baseball bats, metal poles, scaffolding, riot shields and other police weapons that had been taken from officers. There were also firearms present.

“There was a lot of screaming and yelling. It was really just body against body, officers pressing against the rioters trying to push them, or force them, back out of the tunnel entrance.”

The crush of the rioters against the police – who were fighting to hold off the massive crowd – was akin to a “medieval battle scene”, according to Mr Fanone.

He was struck in the back of the skull with a taser device and suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury as a result.

Mr Fanone said he thought about using his “deadly force”, in other words firing his service weapon towards the attackers, but said that he “came to the conclusion that would most likely not result in my survival”.

The harrowing description of the riots which stunned America and the world nearly two years ago comes as the House committee investigating the attacks meets for the what could be the last time.

The committee, which wrapped up work in July, looks to conclude its investigation as public attention is recaptured on the issue during a hearing today. It will likely be the last hearing on an issue that is largely unresolved.

It will likely try to refocus voters’ attention on the attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election by President Donald Trump and insist that election deniers remain a threat to the country.

Indeed, many running in the 2022 national and state elections on the Republican ticket have co-opted Mr Trump’s rhetoric that the election was “stolen” – something which has been proven to be untrue.

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Committee aides have said that the hearing will not have live witnesses but will present never before seen evidence. The inquiry has conducted more than 1,000 interviews and has collected millions of documents surrounding the riot.

But the issue has been conspicuously absent from midterm campaigning with issues such as abortion, inflation, crime and immigration dominating the airwaves.

Inflation is the number one concern for voters ahead of the 2022 election, however polls showed a marked increase in concern about the threat to American democracy, particularly after the televised January 6 hearings over the summer.

Democrats at the hearing today will likely be attempting to remind the American electorate about what they say is the danger posed to democracy by Donald Trump and his supporters ahead of the midterm elections.

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