Jul 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol police officer: It’s “disappointing that we live in a country” with racist people

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, a Black man, said Tuesday at the Jan. 6 select committee's first hearing that it is "disheartening" and "disappointing" to live in a country where people "attack you because of the color of your skin."

What they're saying: "To be frank, while the attack was happening ... I wasn't able to process it as a racial attack, I was just trying to survive that day and get home," Dunn said. "When I did have a moment to process it, I think that was in the rotunda, where I became so emotional because I was able to process everything that happened and it was just so overwhelming."

  • "And it is so disheartening and disappointing that we live in a country with people like that, that attacks you because of the color of your skin, just to hurt you. Those words are weapons," he added.
  • "[O]nce I was able to process it, it hurt. It hurt just reading it now. And just thinking about it. That people demonize you because of the color of your skin. When my blood is red, I'm an American citizen. I'm a police officer. I'm a peace officer. I'm here to defend this country."

During earlier testimony, Dunn explained that even six months after the attack, "Jan. 6 still isn't over for me," adding he has continued counseling to treat emotional trauma.

  • Dunn noted that several rioters called him a "f--king n-----" after he said he voted for President Biden, in response to protesters who claimed no one had voted for him.
  • One Black officer told Dunn that in his 40 years of life, he had never been called that slur, saying "that streak ended on Jan. 6."
  • When Dunn had a moment to sit on a bench in the Capitol, he said he “became very emotional and began yelling, ‘How the blank can something like this happen? Is this America?’”

The big picture: Several law enforcement officers have testified on their personal experiences during the insurrection. They will also answer questions from committee members who seek further details on the events of that day.

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