Police officers recount horrors from the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol By Reuters

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© Reuters. U.S. Capitol Police sergeant Aquilino Gonell; Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges, and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn are sworn in to testify during the opening hearing of the U.S. House (Select)

By Richard Cowan and Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Four police officers who faced attacks and racial slurs as they defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 from a riot by then-President Donald Trump’s supporters were the first on Tuesday to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives investigatory committee.

It was the first hearing before the nine-member panel comprised of seven Democrats and two Republicans.

Below are some quotes from Tuesday’s hearing.

COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN BENNIE THOMPSON

“Some people are trying to deny what happened. To whitewash it. … Let’s be clear. The rioters who tried to rob us of our democracy were propelled here by a lie.”

REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY

“If those responsible are not held accountable, and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic.”

U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER AQUILINO GONELL

“The rioters called me a ‘traitor,’ a ‘disgrace,’ and shouted that I (an Army veteran and police officer) should be ‘executed.’

“… What we were subjected to that day was like something from a medieval battlefield. We fought hand-to-hand and inch-by-inch to prevent an invasion of the Capitol by a violent mob intent on subverting our democratic process.

“… After order finally had been restored at the Capitol and after many exhausting hours, I arrived home at nearly 4 a.m. on January 7. I had to push away my wife from hugging me because of all the chemicals that covered my body,” Gonell said, fighting back tears. “I couldn’t sleep because the chemicals reactivated after I took a shower, and my skin was still burning.”

“… As an immigrant to the United States, I am especially proud to have defended the U.S. Constitution and our democracy on Jan. 6.”

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