Michael Fanon “went to hell and back” while doing his job, even suffering a heart attack. The response to his heroism has infuriated him.
The U.S. congressional committee set up to investigate the Capitol riot held its first hearing in Washington D.C. today. The select committee heard from four witnesses: Capitol Police officers Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell and Metropolitan Police officers Michael Fanon and Daniel Hodges.
On January 6, all four men were among the law enforcement forces defending the Capitol from a mob of former president Donald Trump’s supporters, who were trying to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
Mr. Hodges is the officer who was filmed being crushed in a doorway, screaming in pain, as part of the mob tried to force entry to the building. Mr. Fanone was swarmed by rioters, dragged down the Capitol steps, shocked with a stun gun, and beaten. He suffered a heart attack and a concussion.
The crowd tried to steal his service weapon, and one of the rioters was heard yelling: “Kill him with his own gun!” He survived by shouting that he was a father, which prompted some mob members to help him to safety.
“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend, are downplaying or outright denying what happened,” Mr. Fanone told the hearing today.
“I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room, but too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist, or that hell actually wasn’t that bad. “The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”
Mr. Dunn, an African-American officer, described the racial abuse he copped after telling the rioters he had voted for Mr. Biden. “I told them to just leave the Capitol, and in response, they yelled, ‘No man, this is our house. President Trump invited us here. We are here to stop the steal. Joe Biden is not the president. Nobody voted for Joe Biden,’” he recounted.
“That prompted a torrent of racial epithets. One woman in a pink MAGA shirt yelled, ‘You hear that, guys? This n***** voted for Joe Biden.’ “Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming. ‘Boo, f***ing n*****.’ No one had ever, ever called me a n***** while wearing the uniform.
“In the days following the attempted insurrection, other black officers shared with me their own stories of racial abuse on January 6. One officer told me he had never, in his entire 40 years of life, been called a n***** to his face, and that streak ended on January 6.
“Yet another black officer later told me he had been confronted by insurrectionists inside the Capitol, who told him: ‘Put your gun down, and we’ll show you what kind of n***** you really are.’” The committee’s investigation has already been marred by politics.