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‘We got to hold this door’ How battered D.C. police made a stand against the Capitol mob

Washington Post – “Blinded by smoke and choking on gas and bear spray, stripped of his radio and badge, D.C. police officer Michael Fanone and his battered colleagues fought to push back rioters trying to force their way into an entrance to the U.S. Capitol. The officers had been at it for hours, unaware that others in the mob had already breached the building through different entrances. For them, the West Terrace doors — which open into a tunnel-like hallway allowing access to an area under the Rotunda — represented the last stand before the Capitol fell. “Dig in!” Fanone yelled, his voice cracking, as he and others were being struck with their own clubs and shields, ripped from their hands by rioters. “We got to get these doors shut.” An officer since 9/11, the 40-year-old Fanone, who has four daughters, had been working a crime-suppression detail in another part of the District on Jan. 6. He and his partner sped to the Capitol when dispatchers broadcast an urgent citywide emergency call. “They were overthrowing the Capitol, the seat of democracy, and I f—ing went,” Fanone said…

This account is based on interviews with [Acting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III], in the top job just four days before the riot, along with members of his command staff and officers on the front lines. These police leaders talked of battles using metaphors typically reserved for wars, describing fighting on three fronts, including the West Terrace, one of the few places where police prevented rioters from breaking through. Had those rioters succeeded, authorities said, thousands more people could have poured into the Capitol, with possible catastrophic consequences. Nearly 60 D.C. police officers and an unknown number of Capitol officers were hurt in the siege, with injuries that included bruised and sprained limbs, concussions and irritated lungs. Sicknick, who police said physically engaged rioters, died the next day. Authorities said he was injured, but they did not elaborate…”

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