Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell Wipes Away Tears at January 6. House Committee Hearing

As he tried to stop a mob from breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6, U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell at one level didn’t assume he would make it out alive.

“I may really feel myself dropping oxygen and recall pondering to myself, ‘That is how I will die, defending this entrance,’” Gonell testified Tuesday morning earlier than the Jan. 6 bipartisan Home Choose Committee.

Gonell stated he later came upon that his spouse and family members had been watching the riot unfold on tv, and have been frantically calling and texting him to seek out out if he was okay. However, he defined, his precedence was attending to others.

“After giving CPR to one of many rioters who breached the Capitol, in an effort to avoid wasting her life, I lastly had an opportunity to let my circle of relatives know that I used to be alive,” stated Gonell.

Arriving dwelling at practically 4 a.m. the subsequent day, Gonell stated his spouse tried to hug him however he pushed her away as a result of his uniform was saturated with pepper spray. He took a bathe, but it surely reactivated the chemical substances he had been sprayed with and his pores and skin was burning.

“I lastly fell asleep two hours later, utterly bodily, mentally exhausted,” stated Gonell. “But by eight o’clock a.m., I used to be already on my method again to the Capitol.”

Gonell stated the bodily violence he and his fellow officers skilled “was horrific and devastating,” including that they have been punched, sprayed with chemical irritants, and “even blinded with eye damaging lasers by a violent mob who apparently noticed us, legislation enforcement officers devoted to sarcastically defending them as U.S. residents, as an obstacle to their tried rebel.”

Along with Gonell, three different law enforcement officials who have been there that day confirmed as much as testify earlier than the committee: Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and D.C. Metropolitan Police Officers Daniel Hodges and Michael Fanone. All 4 sat silently as committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) performed a video montage for the chamber of that day’s violence. Some appeared away and appeared bodily pained by reliving the second. Others wiped tears from their faces because the footage unspooled.

The existence of the committee has already change into politically divisive, with Home Minority Chief Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) prohibiting Republicans from collaborating. Nonetheless, two breakaway GOPers are serving on the request of Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. They now face calls by members of their own party to be punished, and have been mocked by McCarthy himself as “Pelosi Republicans.”

Seven folks died because of the sacking of the Capitol, together with three law enforcement officials. Many Capitol cops have quit in the aftermath of Jan. 6, and numerous those that stay really feel ill-prepared to fend off one other assault. Dozens of rioters have been members of extremist teams, together with the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. Others have been QAnon acolytes. And a not-insignificant portion of the insurrectionists have been both present or former army or legislation enforcement officers.

It shouldn’t have come as a shock: As The Daily Beast previously reported, there have been numerous clues left beforehand on social media, by activists, and then-President Donald Trump himself, that Jan. 6 wouldn’t be a peaceable day.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn.

Jim Bourg/Pool by way of Reuters

Gonell emigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic in 1992.

“I appeared as much as the US because the land of alternative, a spot to raised myself,” he advised the committee. “From the second I landed at JFK… I’ve tried to pursue that objective, and totally obtain that objective on many ranges.”

He was the primary in his household to graduate school, be part of the Military, and change into a police officer. He raised his hand and swore to guard the Structure of the US a number of occasions, “as a result of this nation gave me a chance to change into something that I wished.”

However as he battled a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6 that was making an attempt to disrupt the official certification of then-President-Elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory, Gonell was “notably shocked on the scene.” The rioters have been “violently attacking us with the very American flag” these folks claimed to like and respect.

A few of the rioters wore tactical gear, together with bulletproof vests and fuel masks, Gonell testified. They “forcibly took our batons and shields to make use of them towards us,” he stated, noting that the coordinated assault led him to imagine that lots of the insurrectionists had legislation enforcement or army expertise.

“My survival instincts kicked in and I began kicking and punching, as I attempted in useless to get the officers’ consideration behind and above me. However they might not assist me as a result of additionally they have been being attacked.”

“The rioters have been vicious and relentless, [and] we discovered ourselves in a violent battle,” Gonell continued. He described the second an officer close by was pulled into the pulsating crowd. Gonell stated he tried to assist, however nearly instantly got here underneath assault himself.

“Once I tried to assist the second officer, I fell on high of some police shields on the bottom that have been slippery as a result of [of] the pepper spray and bear spray,” Gonell testified, his voice ceaselessly breaking with emotion. “Rioters instantly started to drag me by my leg, by my defend, by my gear strap on my left shoulder. My survival instincts kicked in and I began kicking and punching, as I attempted in useless to get the officers’ consideration behind and above me. However they might not assist me as a result of additionally they have been being attacked.”

Gonell described the scene as “a chronic and determined battle.” The rioters, he stated, have been shouting, “Trump despatched us,” telling him and the opposite officers on the scene, “Take the suitable facet. We would like Trump.”

Gonell stated he “may have misplaced [his] life that day, not as soon as however many occasions.” Nonetheless, as quickly as he recovers from his accidents, he’ll “proceed ahead and proudly serve my nation within the U.S. Capitol Police.”

“As an immigrant to the US,” he stated, “I’m particularly proud to have defended the U.S. Structure and our democracy on January 6.” way of=rss | Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell Wipes Away Tears at January 6. Home Committee Listening to


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