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United States Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn has been celebrated as a hero for his actions on January 6, 2021, and his public statements since. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden awarded him the Presidential Citizens Medal to great fanfare. But the story he told that first made headlines now appears to be an obviously disprovable lie.
When Dunn alleged he was called a n***** “numerous times” during the riot at the Capitol on January 6, almost the entirety of the media repeated his claim without question. It features prominently in his new memoir, “Standing My Ground: A Capitol Police Officer's Fight for Accountability and Good Trouble After January 6th,” published on Tuesday by Hachette Books.
The origin story
Seemingly no other word in the English language — when spoken by someone other than a black comedian or a rapper — evokes a more viscerally negative response. So taboo is the use of the N-word that when anyone so much as quotes the word in a news story or interview, it either must be redacted (as is Blaze Media’s policy) or euphemized.
In “Standing My Ground,” Dunn recounts how he and another black officer were approached by BuzzFeed reporter Emmanuel Felton to tell their stories about that “harrowing day in which they were forced to endure racist abuse — including repeatedly being called the n-word — as they tried to do their job of protecting the Capitol building.”
Felton’s story was published on January 9, three days after the riot. Dunn appears in the article as an unnamed source. According to Dunn’s BuzzFeed account:
“I sat down with one of my buddies, another Black guy, and tears just started streaming down my face,” he said. “I said, ‘What the f***, man? Is this America? What the f*** just happened? I’m so sick and tired of this shit.’”
Soon he was screaming, so that everyone in the Rotunda, including his white colleagues, could hear what he had just gone through.
“These are racist-ass terrorists,” he yelled out.
“I got called a n***** 15 times today,” the veteran officer shouted in the Rotunda to no one in particular. “Trump did this and we got all of these f***ing people in our department that voted for him. How the f*** can you support him?”
“I cried for about 15 minutes and I just let it out.”
Dunn explains in his book how other Capitol Police officers recognized enough detail in the BuzzFeed story to identify him as one of the unnamed sources. Dunn writes that he began to fear he would be outed.
When Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) tweeted out a quote from the article, Dunn says he contacted the congressman’s office, and he soon began to receive a torrent of media interview requests. A colleague introduced Dunn to high-powered whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid, who began negotiating media appearances for him to tell his story publicly.
An evolving story
Dunn’s first televised appearance was on "Good Morning America" on February 22, 2021, with ABC News chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas.
Dunn told Thomas that a large group of protesters started talking to him. “They were saying how Joe Biden did not win the election. And ... nobody voted for him,” he said. “So, I took the bait, and I ... OK ... what about me? I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count?”
Dunn went on to describe a couple in the crowd:
And his girlfriend, she had on a pink MAGA shirt. She said, “Hey! This n***** voted for Joe Biden, guys! Hey! Everybody! This n***** voted for Joe Biden!” ... Everybody joined in with them.
Once the Capitol had been cleared of protesters, Dunn told Thomas he shared with a close friend, “I got called a n***** ... couple dozen times today.”
Dunn continued to tell variations on the story across numerous media appearances, FBI interviews, and ultimately in sworn testimony before the House Select Committee on January 6 in the first of its prime-time, Hollywood-produced televised hearings.
In the first of Dunn’s two known FBI statements, taken on May 18, 2021, the interviewers wrote in reference to the N-word event, “Dunn advised he was verbally assaulted by a Hispanic female in a pink t-shirt, who appeared to be lumped in with the Oath Keepers.”
In a second FBI interview on August 16, 2021, the agent reported, “During this time, Officer Dunn was called a ‘n*****’ and other names. He did not believe that it was the Oath Keepers who called him these types of names.”
(Blaze Media has acquired those two FBI “302” interview forms. Although they are marked “Unclassified,” they reportedly remain under a court’s protective order preventing them from being made public.)
In Dunn’s first statement before a congressional subcommittee on July 27, 2021, he testified:
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***** voted for Joe Biden!” Then the crowd, perhaps around twenty people, joined in, screaming, “Boo! F***ing n*****!”
No one had ever — ever — called me a “n*****” 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 forty years of life, been called a “n*****” 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***** you really are!”
In a podcast interview with Michael Barbaro of the New York Times, Dunn further embellished his story:
And then — and then that’s when the girl said, “You hear that? This N-word voted for Joe Biden, guys.” And then the whole 20, 30, 40, 50 people that were there said, “This N-word voted for Joe Biden. Boo!”
On page 82 of the prepublication copy of Dunn’s book acquired by Blaze Media, he gives a similar account of the racist chant from the lady in the “pink MAGA shirt.” But on page 157, Dunn writes that the chant was led by a woman in a “pink MAGA hat.”
Despite that and other minor discrepancies in Dunn’s telling, the biggest problem with the story is that in what many regard as the most video-recorded event in history, not a single piece of evidence — video or audio — has emerged to confirm that such a racially charged incident ever took place.
Tale of the tape
In the two and a half years since the events of January 6, 2021, with tens of thousands of hours of audio taken and analyzed from open-source cellphone video and D.C. Metro Police body-worn cameras, nobody has produced recorded evidence to corroborate Dunn’s story. Nor has any evidence appeared showing that other police officers were on the receiving end of racial epithets and abuse.
Capitol closed-circuit TV video — now analyzed by Blaze Media, as well as by several other media outlets — does not include audio. But the video also appears to lack any visual evidence confirming the event as Dunn described it, at the time and location he claimed it occurred. In fact, the entirety of the extensive hours of videos that Blaze Media has examined reveal no such event. This includes the end of Dunn’s day, when he is supposed to have broken down crying in the Capitol Rotunda. Instead, he is clearly visible talking to numerous fellow officers — not only without tears, but sometimes smiling and sharing cellphone video.
We did not find a single shirt fitting that description worn by anyone inside the building.
Analysts for Blaze Media have spent hours poring over the video recordings looking for any individual — male or female — wearing a “pink MAGA shirt” inside the Capitol Building. We can report, conclusively, based on the many camera sources available, that a woman in a pink MAGA T-shirt is never seen near or in Dunn’s vicinity. We did not find a single shirt fitting that description worn by anyone inside the building.
The Sedition Hunters, a self-described “global community of open-source intelligence investigators (OSINT) working together to assist the U.S. FBI and Washington D.C. Capitol Police to find those who committed crimes on January 6 at the Capitol,” had unprecedented access to open-source January 6 video footage. This group of left-leaning activist researchers has also failed to produce evidence of the N-word being used against Dunn or other black police officers that day.
With tens of thousands of hours of video and audio recordings from January 6, if any protester had uttered the word that day, that evidence almost certainly would have been made public already. The idea that “20, 30, 40, 50 people” were chanting the word is absurd on its face.
If such evidence existed, it would have been “the N-word heard ’round the world” and replayed by every major news agency, in every January 6-related story, without end, in service of a left-wing narrative that the violence that day was fueled not only by incitement from President Trump but was also a demonstration of MAGA’s “white supremacy.”
No one believes it
On a recent episode of BlazeTV’s “Fearless with Jason Whitlock,” former Capitol Police Lt. Tarik Johnson — also black — was asked about his experience on January 6.
“Did anyone throw any racial slurs at you on January 6?”
“None,” Johnson replied.
Whitlock asked, “Did you hear from any other officers that maybe had that experience?”
Johnson told Whitlock that the two Oath Keepers who helped him go inside and rescue 16 of his fellow Capitol Police officers “were both white.”
In the first of my several face-to-face interviews with Johnson, he was accompanied by an unnamed, now-retired black USCP officer. I asked the two of them about the story Dunn had repeated so many times.
The unnamed retired officer stopped me. “Are you asking me if anyone called Dunn a n***** that day?”
“Never happened,” he resolutely responded.
This is only the first of many apparent lies in Dunn’s new book, many of which he also asserted in sworn testimony in trial and before Congress. Much of what Officer Dunn has falsely stated or embellished about that day was used in federal court to put people in federal prison. Similar to the evidently perjurous testimony of Special Agent David Lazarus, much of what Dunn said is easily refuted by examining the video evidence that Congress and the Capitol Hill Police are still withholding from Blaze Media and the American public.
The American people need to demand its release.
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Steve Baker is an opinion contributor for Blaze News and an investigative journalist.