A D.C. Metropolitan Police officer left brain injured by Capitol rioters on Tuesday slammed ex-President Donald Trump and the other politicians who have falsely portrayed the mob as peaceful.
Michael Fanone, a 19-year police veteran who was dragged down stairs, beaten with pipes and repeatedly shocked with stun guns during the pro-Trump insurrection, talked about the distortions in an emotional interview with CNN’s Don Lemon.
“It’s been very difficult seeing elected officials and other individuals kind of whitewash the events that day, or downplay what happened,” Fanone said when Lemon asked about Trump’s claim that the rioters posed “zero threat.” “Some of the terminology that was used, like ‘hugs and kisses,’ and ‘very fine people,’ is very different from what I experienced and what my co-workers experienced on the 6th.”
Trump said during an interview on Fox News last month that his supporters were hugging and kissing police officers and were unthreatening.
Fanone said that was “very much not the experience that I had.”
“I experienced a group of individuals that were trying to kill me to accomplish their goal,” he said, choking up. “I experienced the most brutal, savage, hand-to-hand combat of my entire life. Let alone my policing career, which spans almost two decades.”
Officer Michael Fanone tells @donlemon it’s been very difficult to see elected officials whitewash what happened on Jan. 6.
He was stun-gunned several times and beaten with a flagpole during the Capitol attack.
Watch part 1 of his first in-depth interview: pic.twitter.com/4LzuJcfztl
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) April 28, 2021
He said he hoped that people would understand the depths of the insurrectionists’ motives.
“I want people to understand that thousands of rioters came to the Capitol hell-bent on violence and destruction and murder,” he said.
Fanone was guarding a Capitol hallway when the Trump rioters dragged him from his post, hauled him down a stairway, shocked him repeatedly with a stun gun and beat him with metal pipes. He suffered a heart attack and a concussion and has since been living with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
More than 400 people have been charged in the riot, including several who are implicated in the attack against Fanone. Charges have been filed against Thomas Sibick, Kyle Young, Albuquerque Head and Daniel Rodriguez.
Some leading Republicans have joined Trump in pushing false accounts of the insurrection, downplaying the violence that led to five deaths and hundreds of law enforcement injuries after Trump urged supporters to march on the Capitol to overturn the election.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.