“Of the multitude of events I’ve worked in my nearly 19-year career on the Department, this was by far the worst of the worst,” US Capitol Police Captain Carneysha Mendoza said in her testimony during the first congressional hearing on the January 6 insurrection. “We could have had 10 times the amount of people working with us and I still believe this battle would have been just as devastating.”
Mendoza, who currently serves in the department’s Special Operations Division, was the first witness called in the hearing before the US Senate as the probe into what happened in the days leading up to and on the day of the attack that left five people dead continues.
Her account of the violence which was caught on hundreds of videos gave clearer detail of the violence officers faced during the Capitol Breach.
Capt. Mendoza, who also worked the November 14th MAGA march, told the committee that there were six active scenes that police officials were attempting to respond to once when she arrived on the scene 15 minutes after receiving a call for help from fellow officers.
The Army vet was on her way to the DNC building when she got the call for officers needing assistance at the Capitol. She went there and took help out, forced to pass through an angry mob on her way to assist her fellow officers:
“Once inside the Memorial Door, I immediately noticed a large crowd of possibly 200 rioters yelling in front of me. Since I was alone, I turned to go back out so I could enter through another door, but within the few seconds it took to walk back to the door I entered, there were already countless rioters outside banging on the door. I had no choice but to proceed through the violent crowd already in the building.”
From there, Capt. Mendoza says she “immediately jumped in line” with other officers fitted in riot gear who were holding off the crowd from breaching the Rotunda.
Her arm became caught between a railing and the rioters, which a fellow officer helped free. “I’m certain it would have been broken,” she added.
In her testimony, Capt. Mendoza said that rioters deployed military grade gas that caused chemical burns to her face that “still have not healed to this day.”
“As an American and an Army veteran, it’s sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens. I’m sad to see the unnecessary loss of life sustained, I’m sad to see the impact this has had on Capitol Police officers, and I’m sad to see the impact this event has had on our agency and on our country,” Mendoza said towards the end of her statement.
She wrapped up her account by acknowledging former USCP Chief Steve Sund’s leadership during the insurrection. “...[H]e cared about every employee on the Department,” she said.
The Senate committee called Sund as its next witness to ask more questions about the breach and vulnerability of the Capitol building, and bring more clarity about who and what failed.
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