facebook linkedin twitter

Capitol Defenders Honored With Congressional Gold Medals

August 6, 2021 by Dan McCue
President Joe Biden delivers remarks honoring those who defended the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot. (Photo by Dan McCue)

The gold medals are provided to individuals or institutions as Congress’ “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions,” according to the website of the House historian. 

Four medals will be displayed: one in the Capitol Police headquarters, one in Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, one in the Capitol and one in the Smithsonian Institution. Plaques will be installed in the Smithsonian and the Capitol that list all law enforcement agencies that participated in protecting the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Past recipients of the honor include George Washington, Rosa Parks and the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II.

The measure passed the House in June, with 21 Republicans voting against bestowing the honor to law enforcement. Earlier this week, the Senate passed that same legislation without any opposition — by unanimous consent.

A family member of a fallen officer looks on as President Biden signs the gold medal bill into law. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Several officers endured horrific beatings by pro-Trump rioters during the Capitol attack,the president noted that more than 140 combined Capitol and metropolitcan police officers were injured.

Several officers recently told their individual stories to the Jan. 6 select committee that is now investigating the riot and the events that led to it. Most were in attendance in the Rose Garden Thursday afternoon.

Among them, Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, who said one rioter told him he was going to “die on [his] knees.”

Another was Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, a giant of a man, who told the committee he was called a racial slur by a woman in a pink MAGA shirt, and the crowd around him took up the slur and repeatedly hurled it in his direction.

He told the committee he still goes to therapy and participates in peer support groups.

He wasn’t the only one to bear the emotional scars of that day.

To date, four officers have died by suicide since the insurrection: MPD Officers Gunther Hashida, Kyle DeFreytag and Jeffrey Smith and Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood.

“For anyone out there facing trauma, for anyone still struggling, please know there is help available,” Biden said.

Since the insurrection, several Republicans have tried to recast the events of Jan. 6., most recently House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who said last week that the siege was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s fault.

“On Jan. 6 these brave officers were put into a vulnerable and impossible position because the leadership at the top failed,” he told reporters outside the Capitol.

President Biden greets police officers and their families after the bill signing ceremony. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Other Republican members of Congress have also sought to recast the narrative surrounding the events of Jan. 6.

Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, for instance, one of 21 House Republicans who voted against awarding the gold medals to the officers, has compared the rioters to tourists during a heated argument with Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion, staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from Jan. 6, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” Clyde said.

Later, he said, “I stand by that exact statement as I said it.” 

On Thursday, Biden said, “the tragedy of [Jan. 6] deserves the truth above all else.”

“We cannot allow history to be rewritten. We cannot allow the heroism of these officers to be forgotten,” he said. “We have to understand what happened — the honest and unvarnished truth. We have to face it. That’s what great nations do, and we are a great nation.”

Among those in attendance at the Rose Garden event were the family members of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died shortly after the insurrection, and Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans, who died on April 2 after an assailant slammed a car into him and another Officer, Kenny Shaver.

“We can’t allow the heroism of these officers to be forgotten,” Biden said.

A+
a-

Law Enforcement

Student Kills 3, Wounds 8 at Oxford High School in Michigan

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a... Read More

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in a deputy’s patrol car on the way to a hospital, authorities said. Eight other people were wounded, some critically, including a... Read More

November 2, 2021
by Reece Nations
Bipartisan Senate Legislation Aims to Prevent Foreign Extortion

WASHINGTON — Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., announced the introduction of legislation to the Senate on Tuesday... Read More

WASHINGTON — Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., announced the introduction of legislation to the Senate on Tuesday that would criminalize bribery demands by foreign officials. Although bribery is considered criminal activity under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, current law only punishes... Read More

October 27, 2021
by Dan McCue
Minneapolis Voters to Decide Whether to Replace Police Department

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Ballot measures normally don’t get too much attention. But Minneapolis residents next week are poised to vote... Read More

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Ballot measures normally don’t get too much attention. But Minneapolis residents next week are poised to vote for or against perhaps the most high profile ballot measure ever — one that could lead to the city’s police department being transformed into a public... Read More

October 26, 2021
by Reece Nations
Over 100 Jailed in International Darknet Narcotics Sting

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Department of Justice’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement in tandem with the European Union... Read More

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Department of Justice’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement in tandem with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation on Tuesday announced the culmination of the agencies’ efforts to disrupt opioid trafficking on the darknet. The international law enforcement operation,... Read More

October 21, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
FBI Raids DC Home of Russian Oligarch Allegedly Linked to 2016 Influence-Peddling

WASHINGTON -- An FBI search of the Washington, D.C. home of a Russian oligarch this week is moving the Justice... Read More

WASHINGTON -- An FBI search of the Washington, D.C. home of a Russian oligarch this week is moving the Justice Department into the political minefield that comes from mixing foreign policy with legal enforcement. The FBI conducted what it called "law enforcement activity" at the home... Read More

October 13, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Veterans in Violent, Extremist Groups Prompt Response Plan from Congress

WASHINGTON -- Fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol continued Wednesday as a congressional panel looked at... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol continued Wednesday as a congressional panel looked at why veterans would become violent against the country they swore to protect. Representatives of veterans groups and academics blamed mental health problems, underemployment, racism and disenchantment... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top