Select committee member thanks officers who responded Jan. 6: 'You were our last line of defense'

Select committee member thanks officers who responded Jan. 6: 'You were our last line of defense'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyConservative group targets Spanberger, Luria in new ads ahead of reconciliation bill Failed drug vote points to bigger challenges for Democrats Democrats brace for toughest stretch yet with Biden agenda MORE (D-Fla.), a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, thanked law enforcement officers for defending the Capitol, telling them “you were our last line of defense.”

Murphy, during the House panel's first hearing Tuesday, played footage of Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges being crushed in a doorway as officers struggled to push back the mob. She told the officer that his actions had a “profound impact” on her.

The lawmaker explained that she was in a small office with Rep. Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceFailed drug vote points to bigger challenges for Democrats Democrats brace for toughest stretch yet with Biden agenda Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices MORE (D-N.Y.) “about 40 paces away” from where Hodges was defending the Lower West Terrace about 3 p.m. on Jan. 6. She said she heard officers struggle, and ultimately “get back into the fight.”

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“From that office, in close proximity to where you all held the line, I listened to you struggle. I listened to you yelling out to one another, I listened to you care for one another, directing people back to the makeshift eyewash station that was at the end of our hall,” Murphy said.

“And then, I listened to people coughing, having difficulty breathing, but I watched you and heard you all get back into the fight,” she continued.

Murphy then addressed D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone and Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell, who said they felt like the last line of defense.

“I know, Sgt. Gonell and Officer Hodges, you both said that you didn’t realize other parts of the Capitol had been breached, but you really felt like you were the last line of defense,” Murphy said. “Well, I’m telling you that you were our last line of defense.”

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Murphy then told Hodges that his actions gave just enough time for her and Rice to escape the office, adding that she “shudder[s] to think” about what happened otherwise.

Murphy told Hodges the reason she was able to see her children again was because of the “courage that you and your fellow officers showed that day.”

“So, just a really heartfelt thank you,” Murphy said.

--Updated at 3:25 p.m.