The Jan. 6 House select committee kicked off its first hearing on Tuesday with emotional testimonies from four of the officers who defended the Capitol that day.
U.S. Capitol Sergeant Aquilino Gonell called the events of Jan. 6 "like something from a medieval battle," adding that he expects to need "further rehabilitation," even after a six-month medical and administrative leave.
"There are some who express outrage when someone kneels while calling for social justice. Where are those same people expressing the outrage to condemn the violent attack on law enforcement, the Capitol and our American democracy?" said Gonell. "We are not asking for medals or recognition. We simply want justice and accountability," he added, per Vox's Aaron Rupar.
Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone said he feels like he "went to hell and back" to protect lawmakers and American citizens. "But too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist, or that hell wasn't actually that bad," he added just before pounding the table in outrage. "The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful."
When it was his turn to speak, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges recalled shouts of "you will die on your knees!" from rioters before he began to pull "terrorists" off his fellow officers.
And, in his prepared remarks, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn recounted horrific racial slurs he'd never before been called while in uniform. "It's so disheartening and disappointing that we live in a country with people like that," he later added. "Those words are weapons."