AT the first hearing of the select committee investigating the storming of the Capitol on January 6, one Washington DC police officer who was among many violently attacked – Daniel Hodges, above – testified yesterday (Tuesday) that the majority of the mob identified as Christians.
It was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be Christians. I saw the Christian flag directly to my front, and another had ‘Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president.’ Another, ‘Jesus is king.’
Hodges was one of four police officers who testified at the select committee. Harrowing video footage from the day of the riot shows how he was violently attacked and crushed against a Capitol door by the pro-Trump mob.
A second police officer, Harry Dunn, told the committee that he was subjected to racial slurs when he confronted the rioters who had breached the building. In the heat of the moment, Dunn told the rioters that he voted for Joe Biden.
He said at that point, one woman in pink yelled:
Did you hear that, guys, that [N-word] voted for Joe Biden.
He said that others joined in and yelled remarks like, “Boo! F**king [N-word].”
A third officer, Sgt Aquilino Gonell, above, said that some rioters said he wasn’t American because of his race.
Gonell, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, described the scene on the complex’s West Front, where officers were outnumbered by thousands of people wielding bats, flagpoles and other items used to pummel the police. He said he thought to himself, “This is how I am going to die.”
Another officer, Michael Fanone of the Washington, D C, Metropolitan Police Department, called the hand-to-hand combat between police and rioters “nothing short of brutal.”
Fanone said he was tased repeatedly, and dragged into the crowd as members of the mob took his gun and threatened to shoot him with it.
He was visibly angry at lawmakers who have since downplayed the violence that day. Shouting and pounding the table, he told the panel:
I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!
Hodges confirmed that he heard the rioters making racial slurs.
At the conclusion of the committee’s inaugural hearing, Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, asked the officers what they wanted his panel to achieve with its investigation.
The consensus was they wanted it to be thorough and go as high as possible, even if it meant committee members implicating their fellow legislators.
As patrol officers we can only deal with the crimes that happen on the streets, misdemeanors and occasionally the violent felonies, but you guys are the only ones we’ve gotten to deal with crimes that occur above us. I need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this.
If anyone in power coordinated or aided or abetted or tried to downplay, tried to prevent the investigation of this terrorist attack, because we can’t do it. We’re not allowed to and I think the majority of Americans are really looking forward to that as well.
According to the criminal complaint, James Cusick, the father, and Casey Cusick, the son, were each charged with illegal entry in a federal building, disorderly conduct, and violent behaviour at the Capitol.
The pair’s involvement was disclosed to the FBI by David Lesperance, a congregant of their church who was also at the Capitol and later interviewed by the feds. Authorities also found body-cam and CCTV footage depicting the Cusicks inside the Capitol at the time of the riot.
The father and son are the pastor and vice president, respectively, of Global Outreach Church in Melbourne, Florida.
In reporting the arrest, The Daily Beast commented:
There is no word on whether divine intervention prompted the two to storm the Capitol.