Black Capitol Police Officer Describes Racism He Faced During Capitol Riot

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images

During its first hearing, the January 6 Commission Committee heard emotional testimony from several US Capitol police officers who survived the mob of insurrectionists. Officer Harry Dunn was among those who testified before the committee, describing the racism he faced while attempting to protect federal lawmakers inside.

“Put your gun down, and we’ll show you what kind of n***** you really are!” Dunn recalled during the hearing

Dunn told the committee that until January 6 he’d never been called the n-word while in uniform. 

“Until then I had never seen anyone physically assault Capitol police or MPD, let alone witness mass assaults being perpetuated on law enforcement officers,” Dunn said in his testimony. 

The officer said later that at one point he told the rioters “to just leave the Capitol, and in response they yelled, ‘no man, this is our house. President Trump invited us here. We’re here to stop the steal.’”

Donald Trump was impeached for a second time after he spread lies about the election, inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the capitol.

In the immediate aftermath, Dunn said he pulled a fellow Black officer aside to try to process what happened. 

“I sat down on a bench in the rotunda with a friend of mine who is also a black Capitol police officer and told him about the racial slurs I endured,” Dunn said. “I became very emotional and began yelling, ‘how the [expletive] can something like this happen?! Is this America?’ I began sobbing and officers came over to console me.” 

In addition to the physical injuries the officers experienced, Dunn said he sought out therapy to deal with the emotional trauma from the mob and encouraged his colleagues to do the same. 

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling,” he said. “What we all went through that day was traumatic, and if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us.”

Dunn asked the committee to review the mental health services that are available to capitol police officers, including the allotted amount of leave each officer gets. 

The committee asked Dunn what he would like to see come of the commission to which he replied: 

“If a hit man is hired and he kills somebody, the hit man goes to jail,” Dunn began. “But not only does the hit man go to jail, but the person who hired them does. There was an attack carried out on January 6, and a hit man sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.”

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