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D.C. Police Officer Slams Politicians For Downplaying Capitol Riot, Says He Has PTSD

Officer Michael Fanone said he was assaulted during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, suffered a mild heart attack, and is now experiencing emotional trauma.

Pro-Trump protesters clash with D.C. police officer Michael Fanone at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. | Reuters
Pro-Trump protesters clash with D.C. police officer Michael Fanone at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. | Reuters

A Washington, D.C. police officer spoke out about the emotional and physical toll of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on him and his colleagues, and criticized elected officials who he said have downplayed the riot.

Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone talked with CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday about the trauma he’s dealt with since a mob of former President Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol on January 6. He said two weeks after the “adrenaline” from the attack subsided, he experienced some of the “more psychological injuries,” including PTSD.

Two people have been arrested and charged in connection with assaulting Fanone during the insurrection. Fanone told NBC Washington in January that during the riot, he was Tased, suffered a mild heart attack, and was beaten with a “thin blue line flag” — which is typically a symbol that shows support for police officers.

“I had my badge ripped off, my radio was ripped off, one of my ammunition magazines was stripped from my belt,” Fanone said in January. “And guys were trying to take my gun and chanting, ‘Kill him with his own gun.’”

During the CNN interview, Fanone called Trump’s rhetoric at the time “dangerous” — pointing to the former president referring to rioters as “patriots” in a tweet and claiming they “walked” into” the Capitol during a March interview on Fox News. (Trump has been permanently suspended from Twitter.)

“It’s been very difficult seeing elected officials and other individuals kind of whitewash the events of that day, or downplay what happened,” Fanone said, adding that the “terminology” used to downplay the Capitol rioters was “very different from what I experienced and what my co-workers experienced on the 6th.”

A mob breached the Capitol building on January 6 after Trump held a rally and continued to spread his baseless theory that the 2020 election was stolen. At the time, Congress was forced to evacuate while working to certify President Joe Biden’s win. Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice a week after the riot, this time for inciting the insurrection.

“I experienced a group of individuals that were trying to, you know, kill me, to accomplish… their goal,” Fanone continued in his interview.

Fanone became emotional as he further explained the “most brutal, savage, hand-to-hand combat” of his entire life and nearly two-decade police career.

“It was nothing that I had ever thought would be a part of my law enforcement career, nor was I prepared to experience,” Fanone said.

Fanone also criticized Trump for claiming to be a president who promoted “law and order” — a longstanding Republican talking point to win elections — as well as “pandering toward law enforcement,” yet using rhetoric that Fanone believes resulted in the attack.

“I mean, that was difficult to come to terms with,” he continued.

Federal officials have made more than 400 arrests in connection to the January 6 Capitol riot and are continuing to search for others involved. According to CNN, more than 100 police officers were injured during the attack. The Capitol insurrection left at least five people dead, including Capitol officer Brian Sicknick. A medical examiner’s report issued in April ruled that Sicknick died of natural causes after suffering two strokes on January 6.

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