Jul 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol Police sergeant gives emotional testimony at Jan. 6 hearing

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell on Tuesday shared an emotional testimony for the first of the Jan. 6 committee hearings, detailing the events of the Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: Gonell, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, said he was "more afraid to work at the Capitol" on Jan. 6 "than in my entire deployment."

What he's saying: "[N]othing in my experience in the Army or as a law enforcement officer prepared me for what we confronted on Jan. 6," Gonell said.

  • "The verbal assaults and disrespect we endure from the rioters were bad enough. I was falsely accused of betraying my oath, of choosing my paycheck over my loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. Even as I defended the very democratic process that protected everyone in the hostile crowd," he added.
  • "The rioters called me traitor, a disgrace, and shouted that I, an Army veteran and a police officer, should be executed."
  • "[T]he physical violence we experienced was horrific and devastating. My fellow officers and I were punched, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants and even blinded with eye-damaging lasers by a violent mob apparently who saw us, law enforcement, officers dedicated to ironically protecting them as U.S. Citizens, as an impediment to their attempt of insurrection."

The big picture: Four police officers, including Gonell, will deliver remarks before the select committee, detailing their personal experiences.

  • Committee members want to show graphic footage from the Capitol riots to make clear how violent the events were and to leave viewers with no doubt that what happened was a vicious attack on American democracy.
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