- US Capitol police give disturbing evidence at first hearing into January 6 riot protesting the election of President Joe Biden
- Officers recount death threats and racial taunts made by supporters of then-President Donald Trump
- Senior Republican Representative Liz Cheney says the actions of some people in her party are “a disgrace”
Four police officers have told lawmakers they were beaten, taunted with racial insults, heard threats including “kill him with his own gun” and thought they might die as they struggled to defend the US Capitol on January 6 against a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters.
Often tearful, sometimes profane, the officers called the rioters “terrorists” engaged in an “attempted coup” during a three-and-a-half hour congressional hearing in which they also criticized Republican lawmakers who have sought to downplay the attack.
“I feel like I went to hell and back to protect the people in this room,” said District of Columbia police officer Michael Fanone, referring to lawmakers. “The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” Mr Fanone added, slamming his hand onto the witness table.
It was a dramatic first hearing for a Democratic-led House of Representatives committee formed despite opposition by Mr Trump’s fellow Republicans to investigate the violence at the Capitol.
The officers urged lawmakers to determine whether Mr Trump or others helped instigate the riot.
Some Democrats have suggested Trump — who made an incendiary speech to supporters before the riot repeating false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him —was responsible for inciting the riot.
Meanwhile Republican Representative Liz Cheney, who is on the Democratic-led House committee investigating the riot, said yesterday that she “can’t explain” the actions by some in her party after the January 6 attack.
“Almost every member of the Republican conference, understood in the days immediately after January 6th, what had actually happened, and many of them said so publicly, ” Ms Cheney said.
Ms Cheney spoke despite opposition by Mr Trump’s fellow Republicans to investigate the worst violence at the Capitol since the British invasion in the War of 1812.
The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney added: “And the fact that so many members of our leadership, and others, the fact that they’ve gone from recognizing what happened on the 6th, to protesting in front of the Justice Department on behalf of those who were part of the insurrection, is something that I can’t explain. Um, I think it’s a disgrace.”