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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.

Go deeper

Biden: Jan. 6 Capitol riot "was about white supremacy"

President Biden speaks during the 10th anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with Vice President Harris in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday that white supremacy motivated rioters who carried out the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Driving the news: "The violent, deadly insurrection on the Capitol nine months ago, it was about white supremacy, in my opinion," Biden said at an event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats target billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After failing to get a deal on other planned tax increases, key Senate Democrats are pivoting to a billionaires' income tax to pay for President Biden's social spending.

The big picture: No advanced economy has attempted anything similar on such a scale.