A Metropolitan Police Department officer who was savagely beaten during the riot at the U.S. Capitol slammed federal lawmakers Wednesday for “downplaying” the Jan. 6 attack.
In an open letter to all elected members of the U.S. government, Officer Michael Fanone said he continues to struggle with the emotional anxiety of surviving such a traumatic event. He said the indifference of lawmakers has only added to that trauma.
“I also struggle with that anxiety of hearing those who continue to downplay the events of that day and those who would ignore them altogether with their lack of acknowledgment,” he wrote. “The indifference shown to my colleagues and I is disgraceful.”
Mr. Fanone, a plainclothes officer with the department’s crime suppression team, was among the officers who self-deployed to the Capitol on Jan. 6. While holding the line at the West Terrace Lower Tunnel entrance, he said he was knocked down and dragged into the crowd.
Rioters repeatedly beat him and stole gear from his vests, he said. Mr. Fanone wrote that he heard people changing, “Kill him with his own gun!” and thought he was going to die.
Mr. Fanone said he was rescued by another officer and pulled him back into a hallway. While recovering in a hospital, Mr. Fanone said he suffered a mild heart attack.
“In many ways, I still live my life as if it is January 7, 2021,” he wrote.
So far five people have been criminally charged with assaulting Mr. Fanone, including a New York man who is accused of ripping off the officer’s badge and radio and burying them in his backyard.
Mr. Fanone called on officials to recognize the suffering he and other officers suffered during the riot.
“The time to fully recognize these officers’ actions is NOW!,” the letter continued.
While Mr. Fanone’s letter doesn’t name specific politicians, it is clearly directed at Republican allies of former President Trump, some of whom have downplayed some of the violence that occurred on Jan. 6.
A U.S. House resolution honoring U.S. Capitol Police for their efforts to protect members of Congress during the insurrection, passed 412-12 with all dissenting votes coming from Republicans.
At least 140 police officers were injured during the Capitol riot when supporters of Mr. Trump invaded the building to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s election victory.
Some officers suffered head and back injuries, while others had their eyes gouged and fingers severed. Video and photographs of the assault show officers beaten, trampled and crushed in doorways.
Some officers were assaulted with fire extinguishers.
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died the day after he responded to the attack. The Washington medical examiner concluded he died from suffering two strokes.