Ns News Online Desk: Police officers who were targeted by a pro-Trump mob have been speaking out about the “medieval battle” that unfolded on the steps of the Capitol and inside the halls of American democracy last week.
Police faced off against rioters equipped with clubs, shields, pitchforks, firearms, and metal poles stripped from seating set up for next week’s inauguration.
Here’s what we’ve learned from their interviews with US media.Michael Fanone, a 40-year-old DC plainclothes narcotics detective who was told to wear his uniform that day, rushed to the West Terrace of the Capitol where he took turns holding back the crowd, and resting to rinse his face of the the chemical irritants that that crowd was spraying on police. “We weren’t battling 50 or 60 rioters in this tunnel,” the MPD (Metropolitan Police Department of District of Columbia) veteran told the Washington Post. “We were battling 15,000 people. It looked like a medieval battle scene.”
After he was grabbed by his helmet and dragged face-first down several steps, he said the crowd started stripping gear from his vest, including spare ammo, his radio and his badge – all while chanting “USA!”.”We got one! We got one!” Mr Fanone said he heard people shout, with others chanting: “Kill him with his own gun!”
Some members of the crowd protected him after he started yelling that he has children, the father of four told CNN. He sustained only minor injuries but later found out in hospital that he had suffered a mild heart attack during the brawl.MPD Officer Daniel Hodges, 32, had already been on shift for several hours before the rioting began. “We were battling, you know, tooth and nail for our lives,” he told ABC News.
In one viral video, Mr Hodges is seen pinned in a glass doorway between officers and the crowd, as rioters strip his gas mask from his face and beat him with his own police-issued baton. One rioter tried to gouge his eyes. “That was one of the three times that day where I thought: Well, this might be it,” said Mr Hodges. “This might be the end for me.”
As he choked on tear gas, he is seen on video gasping for air to call out for help. Enough police were eventually able to push through the melee to extract him.”I had conspiracy theorists and everyone you could think of yelling at me, saying, ‘Why are you doing this, you’re the traitor,'” Mr Hodges told radio station WAMU. “We’re not the traitors. We’re the ones who saved Congress that day, and we’ll do it as many times as necessary.”
Despite fearing for his life, Mr Hodges says he decided not to use his gun on the crowd. “I didn’t want to be the guy who starts shooting, because I knew they had guns – we had been seizing guns all day,” he told the Post.