Police officers receive the Congressional Gold Medal for protecting the US Capitol on January 6

about two years later january 6 riotLaw enforcement officers who defended the US Capitol are being honored during a ceremony on Tuesday.

Congressional leaders are paying tribute to the officers of the Capitol Police Department, as well as the Metropolitan Police Force of Washington, DC, who risked their lives to protect the Capitol complex from violent protesters storming the building.

The attack occurred as members of both chambers of Congress were holding a joint session to count the votes of the Electoral College and ultimately certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. five people70, including a Capitol Police officer, died either during the riot or as a result of their injuries from the scuffle. four more officers He died by suicide in the days, weeks and months that followed.

Capitol Police Officer Shay Cooney was among the first wave of officers to arrive on the west front of the Capitol as the crowd charged and attacked. Many of them were armed. He said that not a single day goes by when he does not remember the events of January 6.

“Not just the size, but the way they were. You know, you could see the anger,” Cooney said. “You could see the animosity. So many of us were shocked that something like this was actually happening.”

Capital Riot Gold Medal
Congressional Gold Medals are being awarded on December 7, 2022, to the police officers who defended the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Julio Cortez / AP

Capitol Police Lieutenant Ted Hopkins first tried to stop the crowd inside the Capitol Visitors Center. Hopkins later ran towards the US House chamber after rioters sought to break down the speaker’s lobby door.

“It’s important to point out how bad it really was,” Hopkins said. “From verbal abuse, to actual physical assaults, to chemicals, to affect weapons.”

In the months following January 6, Congress passed formal legislation to award the medal to police agencies present during the attack. The Congressional Gold Medal is the legislature’s highest honor, which makes Tuesday’s ceremony especially special for the officers and their families.

Kathleen Dobey, the mother of a Capitol Police officer who responded to the riot and who was being recognized at the ceremony, recalled January 6 as “the worst day” of her son’s life. Dobe’s son, who served on the Capitol Police force for five years, still works for the agency but rarely speaks about Jan. 6, she said, noting that he was likely traumatized by the experience. keeps.

Dobe is attending a Congressional event on Tuesday, where she said she would be beaming with pride.

“You know, he’s very… he’s very polite,” she said of her son. “He doesn’t like to be called a hero. But he is my hero.”

The January 6 attack on the Capitol, and former President Donald Trump’s role in the riot, has been the focus of ongoing investigation The House Select Committee is likely to conduct its final interview in late November. least 700 people He was charged with federal crimes in connection with the attack.

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