A Washington, D.C., police officer who was assaulted by Trump supporters during the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol says that some of the rioters wanted to "kill him with his own gun."
Officer Michael Fanone, a nearly 20-year veteran of the force and father of four daughters, recounted to CNN the harrowing story of how he was pulled to the ground and tased repeatedly as a violent mob surged into the Capitol building. During the assault, rioters stripped Fanone of his spare ammunition, his police radio, and even his badge. But things could have been much worse.
"Some guys started getting a hold of my gun and they were screaming out, 'Kill him with his own gun,'" Fanone said.
"Kill him with his own gun." An officer describes what the rioters said in the moment he lay on the US Capitol flo… https://t.co/kRsIjut0b1— New Day (@New Day)1610717316.0
Fanone is a narcotics detective who typically works in plain clothes. On Jan. 6, when he learned of the chaos at the Capitol, he adorned a brand-new police uniform and raced to the riot with his partner to assist the officers who were already engaged by the crowd.
"They were overthrowing the Capitol, the seat of democracy, and I f---ing went," Fanone told the Washington Post.
Fanone and his fellow officers faced off against thousands of rioters in the West Terrace tunnel of the Capitol building.
"We weren't battling 50 or 60 rioters in this tunnel," he said as he described what it was like for police officers attempting to contain the violence. "We were battling 15,000 people. It looked like a medieval battle scene."
Police officers were attacked with metal pipes taken from the scaffolding surrounding the Capitol building. One officer was beaten by a thug wielding a flagpole with an American flag.
Fanone and his partner were struck with stun guns, and in the violence Fanone suffered a mild heart attack. He also recalls being hit by a pole with a "thin blue line" flag, highlighting the astonishing hypocrisy of these violent criminals who at one point claimed to support law and order and the police.
As his survival instincts kicked in, Fanone says he thought about using his firearm in self-defense but reasoned that even if he shot someone he could not overpower the mob and then the rioters would have an excuse to kill him.
"So, the other option I thought of was to try to appeal to somebody's humanity. And I just remember yelling out that I have kids. And it seemed to work," he said.
Some of the rioters broke off from the mob and shielded Fanone from further violence, for which the officer is partly grateful but still angry and frustrated that they were a part of the riot.
"Thank you, but f*** you for being there," he said, summarizing his feelings toward them.
Fanone's horrifying account is one of several from police officers who were victims of the mob violence on that day. By the time the riots were finally dispersed, nearly 60 police officers suffered injuries from fighting the mob. One officer, Brian Sicknick, was killed in the violence and the FBI is investigating at least 37 people in his death, seeking to charge the perpetrators with felony murder.
Law enforcement is taking extraordinary steps to secure the Capitol for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20. The FBI has warned that armed protesters are planning demonstrations in D.C. and across the nation in advance of Inauguration Day. The National Guard has reportedly been briefed on an improvised explosive device threat in D.C. after pipe bombs were discovered at the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic National Committees.
On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré would be appointed to lead a thorough review of security at the Capitol.
She thanked Capitol Police for their presence at the riot "to protect our democracy."
"We must subject this whole complex though to scrutiny in light of what happened and the fact that the inauguration is coming. To that end, I have asked Retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré to lead an immediate review of security infrastructure, interagency processes and command and control. The general is a respected leader with experience dealing with crises," Pelosi told reporters.