A Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police officer who was assaulted during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot criticized elected officials for “downplaying” the mob’s violence and said he now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In an interview with CNN‘s Don Lemon on Tuesday, Michael Fanone said: “I experienced the most brutal, savage, hand-to-hand combat of my entire life, let alone my policing career, which spans almost two decades.”
“This was nothing that I had ever thought would be a part of my law enforcement career, nor was I prepared to experience.”
Daniel Rodriguez was indicted earlier this month after federal authorities said he attacked Fanone with an “electroshock weapon.” Another man, Thomas F. Sibick, was accused of assaulting the officer and “forcibly” taking his badge and radio, prosecutors said.
In the months since the attack, Fanone, who suffered a heart attack and a concussion during the riot, said he started to “experience some of the more psychological injuries — PTSD.”
The officer said it was “difficult seeing elected officials and other individuals kind of whitewash the events of that day or downplay what happened.”
“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,” he said. Fanone’s comments appeared to reference former President Donald Trump’s false claims in a Fox News interview last month where he said some rioters were “hugging and kissing the police,” a contrast to videos showing a mob storming the Capitol.
The attack led to the unprecedented second impeachment of Trump, who held a rally before the riot occurred promoting falsely claimed fraud and a stolen election lie. He was acquitted in the Senate.
Hundreds of people across the country have been arrested in connection with the attack.
Both Rodriguez and Sibick were charged with several federal counts, including knowingly entering a restricted building, violent entry or disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, impeding, obstructing, or interfering with a law enforcement officer during the commission of a civil disorder, and assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon.
Fanone urged the public not to erase the violence that unfolded on Jan. 6, which left five dead, including a Capitol police officer.
“I want people to understand the significance of Jan. 6. I want people to understand that thousands of rioters came to the Capitol hell-bent on violence and destruction and murder,” he said.
“I don’t know how you can watch my body-worn camera footage and deny that Jan. 6 was anything other than violent and brutal.”