A DC Metropolitan Police officer who was brutally assaulted while defending the US Capitol during the January 6 insurrection said Tuesday evening that it’s been difficult to watch some elected officials and others “whitewash” the episode in its aftermath.
Michael Fanone, who was stun-gunned several times and beaten with a flagpole during the attack, told CNN’s Don Lemon on “CNN Tonight” that “some of the terminology that was used, like ‘hugs and kisses,’ and ‘very fine people,’ is like very different from what I experienced and what my co-workers experienced on the 6th.”
Though Fanone didn’t name Donald Trump specifically, the former President falsely claimed in an interview with Fox News last month that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol behaved properly with law enforcement and there was “zero threat” to the building.
Trump also claimed that some of the rioters “went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards.”
His false account conflicts with reams of video evidence of the violence that broke out on January 6, criminal charges filed against participants, law enforcement officials’ testimony, police officers’ accounts of the violence and lawmakers’ descriptions of the fear they experienced that day.
Fanone suffered a heart attack and a concussion during the insurrection and is now dealing with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I experienced the most brutal, savage hand-to-hand combat of my entire life,” he said Tuesday. “Let alone my policing career, which spans almost two decades. It was nothing that I had ever thought would be a part of my law enforcement career, nor was I prepared to experience.”
Federal prosecutors have filed charges against Thomas Sibick, who allegedly participated in the assault of Fanone. Prosecutors said Sibick was seen in police body-camera footage assaulting Fanone while he lay on the ground outside the Capitol during the riot.
During the brawl outside the Capitol, Sibick allegedly grabbed Fanone’s badge and radio, and he later posted a photo of himself holding a police shield on Facebook, court filings say.
“I want people to understand the significance of January 6,” Fanone said Tuesday. “I want people to understand that thousands of rioters came to the Capitol hell-bent on violence and destruction and murder.”