Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone delivered some impassioned testimony about the traumatic experiences he endured during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Fanone spoke at the first congressional hearing on the Capitol riots on Tuesday.

Fanone described being physically assaulted as he tried to respond to the riot. He expressed outrage at attempts by Republican members of Congress to downplay the events of Jan. 6: “The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!”

Fanone was one of four law enforcement officers to deliver testimony on the events of Jan. 6. He answered questions from a panel convened by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The officer explained that, though he had not been assigned to work at the Capitol on Jan. 6, he and a partner quickly rushed over after hearing other law enforcement personnel over the radio. He then saw Metropolitan Police commander, Ramey Kyle, “struggling to breathe” due to chemical gas being deployed.

“The fighting in the lower west terrace tunnel was nothing short of brutal,” Fanone recalled. “Here I observed approximately 30 police officers standing shoulder to shoulder, four or five abreast, using the weight of their bodies to hold back the onslaught of violent attackers.”

Later in the day, Fanone was beaten, electrocuted and stripped of his badge and radio. He added that there was a “very good chance I would be torn apart or shot with my own weapon.”

Fanone has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, after experiencing a heart attack during the Capitol attacks.

“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend, are downplaying or outright denying what happened,” he said. “I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them, and the people in this room. But too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist, or that hell wasn’t actually that bad.”

“My law enforcement career prepared me to cope with some of the aspects of this experience,” he added. “Being an officer, you know your life is at risk whenever you walk out the door, even if you don’t expect other law-abiding citizens to take up arms against you. But nothing — truly nothing — has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day, and in doing so, betray their oath of office.”

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