Police officers who protected Capitol on Jan. 6 tell their story at VCU
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - More than two years since thousands stormed the steps of the U.S. Capitol to fight the 2020 election results, two capitol police officers who were there that day share their story with students at VCU.
The conversation organized by VCU and Randolph Macon College’s Departments of Political Science was meant to tell the community firsthand what happened on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
”It was just an eerie feeling about that day, just something was wrong, something was off,” Capitol Police Officer, Harry Dunn, said.
Dunn said for a while the streets of D.C. were empty due to the impacts of COVID-19 and the holidays but what made that morning feel strange was the number of people that were out on the street.
“The level of what it was, wasn’t made clear to us until we were actually in it,” Dunn said.
Dunn said he can remember seeing a sea of people march toward the Capitol.
He said he saw Donald Trump supporters breach fencing on the west side of the capitol and rioters begin to assault officers with whatever they could find, including D.C Metropolitan Police Officer, Danny Hodges.
“We made our way up to the West terrace and held the line there for some until, eventually, that broke we engaged in hand-to-hand combat again where I was attacked, beaten and someone tried to gouge out my eye,” Hodges said.
Hodges was later pushed back into the Capitol without his radio after someone had stolen it.
He said he later went to help other police officers down a corridor to try and prevent anyone from getting inside.
That’s where Hodges was pushed up against a door by a rioter holding a shield.
“Anytime they were exhausted with fighting with us, they would just get a fresh person up. They were literally screaming that we need fresh patriots, as they referred to themselves, so we weren’t fighting to make arrests we were fighting to survive,” Hodges said.
Two years later and both men said what happened that day impacts their daily lives and, at times, have to explain the events that unfolded were real.
“It’s so frustrating because the truth is right there in their face, and they’re choosing to tell us that what we went through didn’t happen,” Dunn said. “They are choosing that what you all saw happen that day wasn’t as bad as it looked. No, you’re right it was that bad it was ten times worse.”
Both officers ended Thursday’s discussion to say it’s important everyone plays a role in democracy to make sure this never happens again.
“It requires constant vigilance and critical thinking skills and participation to make sure that it doesn’t happen so, please don’t take it for granted,” Hodges said.
Both Hodges and Dunn received the Presidential Citizens Award for their actions to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6.
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