Pelosi: Officers who protected Capitol will get Congressional Gold Medal
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that Democrats will soon grant the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers on duty guarding the Capitol when it was attacked on Jan. 6.
In a Dear Colleague letter, Pelosi praised those officers — members of the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP), the D.C. Metro Police (MPD) and others — as heroes deserving Congress’s highest civilian honor.
“That day, those men and women risked and gave their lives to save ours, becoming martyrs for our democracy,” she wrote.
“The outstanding heroism and patriotism of our heroes … demand our deepest appreciation. … We must never forget the sacrifice of Officer Brian Sicknick, Officer Howard Liebengood, MDP Officer Jeffrey Smith and the more than 50 USCP who sustained serious injuries, or the courage of the heroes such as Officer Eugene Goodman,” she continued.
Pelosi is asking those Democrats interested in endorsing the legislation to sign on. She did not reveal a timeline for acting on the measure.
Sicknick died a day after the riot after sustaining injuries from engaging with rioters. Lawmakers later granted Sicknick the rare distinction of laying in honor in the Capitol Rotunda last week. Sicknick is only the fifth private citizen to receive the honor.
Goodman has been widely praised after video showed him leading members of the mob away from the Senate chamber, buying time for senators to be evacuated.
A new video presented by the House impeachment managers on Wednesday also showed Goodman turning Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) around so that he did not head toward the mob in the Capitol.
Goodman has since been promoted to acting deputy Senate sergeant-at-arms.
Pelosi’s announcement of the Congressional Gold Medal comes a day after House Democrats in the Senate impeachment trial showed new security footage of police officers protecting lawmakers and staff from the violent mob of former President Trump’s supporters trying to stop Congress from ratifying President Biden’s election victory.
“It’s been such a sad time for us, but as we see what is being presented, we also see the extraordinary valor of the Capitol Police who risked and gave their lives to save our Capitol, our democracy, our lives,” Pelosi said Thursday at a press conference in the Capitol. “They are martyrs for our democracy. Martyrs for our democracy, those who lost their lives.”
“That is why I am putting forth a resolution, introducing legislation to pay tribute to the Capitol Police and other law enforcement personnel who protected the Capitol by giving them a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that Congress can bestow,” she said.
More than 140 officers in the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police forces were injured, some with severe physical trauma like cracked ribs, smashed spinal discs and brain injuries. One officer is expected to lose an eye, while another was stabbed with a metal fence stake.
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman acknowledged in testimony before the House Appropriations Committee last month that many officers are suffering from trauma and are being offered access to counseling services.
Liebengood and Smith both died of suicide days after being on duty on Jan. 6.
–Updated at 12:22 p.m.
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