Capitol police officers have described how they thought they would die after being subjected to ‘brutal, medieval style combat’ by pro-Trump rioters.
Officers who were on duty protecting the building on January 6 said they were outnumbered by a mob of hundreds who called them ‘traitors’ before attacking them.
Speaking for the first time since the ugly scenes that left five people, including a policeman, dead, officer Daniel Hodges told Sky News: ‘They were calling us traitors, shouting at us, telling us to remember our oath, and eventually, they attacked us.’
A video from the scene shows Mr Hodges trapped by a metal door, covered in blood and screaming for help. He said there were several occasions where he feared he wouldn’t survive.
At one point a rioter managed to get his thumb in the officer’s eye and was trying to gauge it out.
‘He said: ‘At that moment in the hallway where I was pinned, I was there to do my best to keep them out, obviously, and the way I was doing that was with my body.’
‘I had conspiracy theorists and everyone you could think of yelling at me, saying, “Why are you doing this, you’re the traitor,”’ Mr Hodges told radio station WAMU.
‘We’re not the traitors. We’re the ones who saved Congress that day, and we’ll do it as many times as necessary.’
Around 100 people have now been arrested in connection with the riots which sought to disrupt the confirmation of Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election.
The FBI has now received 140,000 tips identifying rioters and the Justice Department has launched an online portal so people can track those charged with criminal offences.
Investigators are still trying to identify more suspects, including the man wanted in connection with the murder of police officer, Brian Sicknick.
Another officer on duty that day was Michael Fanone who was pulled from the building and beaten by rioters on the steps of the Capitol building.
He told Sky: ‘Guys were grabbing at my gear, I had my badges ripped off, my radio was ripped off, one of my ammunition magazines was stripped from my belt and guys were trying to grab my gun and they were chanting: “Kill him with his own gun”.
‘I thought… I could shoot them, they’re trying to kill me and I’m justified, but if I did that I’d provide them with the justification they needed to kill me.
‘So then I thought I could appeal to someone’s humanity and I just started yelling that I have kids.’
It comes amid heightened tensions in Washington ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
It’s feared Trump supporters may be planning to stage a similar attack on Government buildings in the run up to the event, leading to hundreds of national guard members keeping a constant watch over the Capitol.
Some Capitol police officers have been accused of colluding with the rioters and several have been suspended.
High ranking officers also resigned after criticism that they had not done enough to prepare for the likelihood of violence, despite Trump supporters openly planning to storm the building on social media.
One officer being lauded for his role on the day is Eugene Goodman. Footage shows him singlehandedly distracting a rampaging mob, giving lawmakers enough time to clear the chamber and get to safety. There are calls for him to be given a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his heroism.
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