“No one had ever ― ever ― called me a ‘n****r’ while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer” until Jan. 6, Capitol Officer Henry Dunn said during Tuesday testimony in front of House select committee members investigating the attack.
Dunn described his confrontation with Trump supporters that day, saying racial abuse was hurled at him as he tried reasoning with the angry mob. Read more from Dunn’s testimony below.
More and more insurrectionists were pouring into the area by the Speaker’s Lobby near the Rotunda, some wearing “MAGA” hats and shirts that said “Trump 2020.” I told them to leave the Capitol, and in response, they yelled back: “No, no, man, this is our house!” “President Trump invited us here!” “We’re here to stop the steal!” “Joe Biden is not the President!” “Nobody voted for Joe Biden!”
I am a law enforcement officer, and I keep politics out of my job. But in this circumstance, I responded: “Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?”
That prompted a torrent of racial epithets. One woman in a pink “MAGA” shirt yelled, “You hear that, guys, this n****r voted for Joe Biden!” Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in, screaming “Boo! Fucking n****r!”
No one had ever — ever ― called me a “n****r” while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer. In the days following the attempted insurrection, other Black officers shared with me their own stories of racial abuse on January 6. One officer told me he had never, in his entire 40 years of life, been called a “n****r” to his face, and that that streak ended on January 6. Yet another Black officer later told he had been confronted by insurrectionists inside the Capitol, who told him to “Put your gun down and we’ll show you what kind of n****r you really are!”
Dunn said as the day wore on and exhaustion set in, he sat next to another Black Capitol Police officer and “became very emotional.”
“I sat down on a bench with a friend of mine who is also a Black Capitol Police officer, and told him about the racial slurs I had endured,” Dunn said in his testimony. “I became very emotional and began yelling, ‘How the fuck can something like this happen? Is this America?’ I began sobbing, and officers came over to console me.”
Five people died and 140 officers were injured that day. Two officers later died by suicide. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone also gave testimony on Tuesday about his own harrowing experience, and blamed Republican lawmakers who continue to deny the reality of what happened. Fanone was repeatedly beaten and shocked by members of the Trump mob during the attack.
“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!” Fanone told lawmakers, shouting as he slammed his hand down on the table.
“I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them, and the people in this room,” Fanone said during his testimony. “But too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist, or that hell wasn’t actually that bad.”