Officer attacked during Capitol riot pens letter about ongoing trauma

National News

FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo rioters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. Congress is set to hear from former security officials about what went wrong at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. That’s when when a violent mob laid siege to the Capitol and interrupted the counting of electoral votes. Three of the four testifying Tuesday resigned under pressure immediately after the attack, including the former head of the Capitol Police. Much is still unknown about the attack, and lawmakers are demanding answers. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

An officer attacked by Capitol rioters has penned a letter describing the ongoing trauma he has experienced since he was pulled into a crowd and beaten on January 6. In his letter, he urged elected officials to recognize officers for their bravery that day, calling those who have downplayed the attack “disgraceful.” 

Mike Fanone, a D.C. Metropolitan police officer, said he was defending a doorway to the Capitol on January 6 when he was pulled into the crowd alone, beaten with fists and metal objects, stripped of his badge and ammunition and shocked multiple times with a Taser.

“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.”

Fanone did not name specific elected officials in his letter, and declined to 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.”

In his letter, 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.”

Fanone, who normally works 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 and a few dozen other officers were positioned at a West entrance to the Capitol building where they faced off against a mob of rioters who were attempting to storm the building, where Congress had gathered to certify the winner of the presidential election.

Fanone described watching Commander Ramey Kyle, pictured here standing over officers, as he calmly directed them to “hold the line.” Fanone wrote, “It was the most inspirational moment of my entire life.”

Fanone wrote that during the attack, he observed about 30 officers standing shoulder to shoulder, “using the weight of their own bodies to hold back the onslaught of violent attackers.” He wrote, “Many of these officers were injured, bleeding and fatigued but they continued to fight.”

Fanone described watching Commander Ramey Kyle calmly give commands to his officers, telling them to “hold the line.” Fanone wrote, “It was the most inspirational moment of my entire life. Even as I write this it brings me to tears.”

He said that during the attack, he tried to help injured officers and give others a break. He wrote, “There were no volunteers, only those that identified injured colleagues who may be in need of assistance. I have never experienced such bravery, courage and selflessness.”

Prosecutors have said that as a result of being attacked in the crowd, Fanone lost consciousness and was subsequently hospitalized for his injuries, which likely included a concussion and injuries from the Taser.

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