On January 6, 2021, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol as a joint session of Congress met to certify President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.

Michael Fanone, a D.C. police officer who was brutally attacked during the riots, recently sat with uPolitics founder Erik Meers to discuss his background and his decision to self-deploy to the Capitol that morning – and what he saw when he got there.

“I was a D.C. Metropolitan police officer for 20 years prior to January 6,” Fanone said. “I spent almost my entire career working in small, specialized units. The unit I was in at the time focused on violent crimes and narcotics trafficking. My day was supposed to involve an investigation into heroin trafficking. I had set up an undercover buy. I remember that morning hearing reports from other officers that were already at work about individuals that were just outside the security perimeter of the Stop the Steal rally were in possession of firearms and that there were arrests being made for weapons offenses. I remember hearing officers who were acknowledging that a large group of participants of the rally had broken off and were headed in the direction of the U.S. Capitol. It wasn’t too much longer, I’d say around 1 p.m., that I started hearing the first reports of the perimeters being breached and officers being assaulted. It was at that point I made the decision to put a uniform on and deploy to the Capitol.”

He also shared his story to emphasize the brutality that took place that day.

“For those that don’t know, the Lower West Terrace Tunnel is the tunnel way that the president-elect walks out of to the inaugural stage to take the oath of office,” he said. “The tunnel way itself is maybe 200-250 feet long and about as wide as four or five adults standing shoulder-to-shoulder. In that tunnelway, about 40 police officers and a couple of Capitol police officers were crammed in there defending that tunnelway against thousands of violent rioters. The entrance way became a funnel for those who were trying to get into the Capitol that was located out on the west terrace. During that battle, I made my way to the front lines, along with my partner Jimmy, and at one point I was pulled off of the police line by an individual who’s identified as Albuquerque Cosper Head. He has since pled guilty. He pulled me out into the crowd where I was assaulted from every direction. I was struck with fists, metal objects and a taser object on my neck multiple times. As a result of that, I did lose consciousness and sustained a traumatic brain injury and suffered a heart attack.”

Learn more about Fanone by picking up a copy of his book, Hold the Line: The Insurrection and One Cop’s Battle for America’s Soul today.

Check back for part two of Officer Fanone’s interview.

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