Capitol Police officer hailed as hero for drawing rioters away from Senate chamber
A Capitol Hill police officer is drawing praise for leading rioters away from an entrance to the U.S. Senate chamber during last week’s attack.
A video posted on Twitter by HuffPost’s Igor Bobic shows the Black officer, identified as Eugene Goodman, being chased by white rioters as he heads to the second floor of the Senate side of the Capitol building.
At the top of the stairs he is seen looking through an empty doorway to the left, which leads to an immediate entrance to the Senate floor where most senators, staff and roughly a dozen journalists, including this Hill reporter, were sheltering.
Goodman — after briefly placing himself between the doorway and a rioter at the front of the group identified as Doug Jensen of Iowa — then lures the mob away from the immediate entrance to the Senate chamber.
Jensen is seen looking toward the empty doorway, which would have put him within feet of an entrance to the Senate chamber. Instead, he and the rest of the mob follow Goodman around the corner to a back corridor where additional law enforcement is waiting.
Goodman’s actions came as those inside the Senate chamber were racing to lock down and secure the Senate floor as rioters breached the building.
In a chaotic scene, staff scrambled to lock down several doors on the second and third floor of the Capitol that access the Senate chamber, where most lawmakers, staffers and reporters had sheltered in place after the breach of the building suspended the Senate’s debate on objections to Arizona’s Electoral College vote.
Inside the chamber were a handful of law enforcement officials including one officer standing between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in the middle of the Senate floor holding what appeared to be a semiautomatic rifle.
Bobic, who took the viral video, tweeted that the incident happened at 2:14 p.m. The Senate chamber was locked down around 2:15 p.m., according to a pool report from Washington Post reporter Paul Kane, who was also sheltering in the chamber.
Here’s the scary moment when protesters initially got into the building from the first floor and made their way outside Senate chamber. pic.twitter.com/CfVIBsgywK
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
Senators, as well as staff and reporters in the chamber, were then evacuated to a secure location before rioters were able to break onto the Senate floor.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who was in the Senate chamber, said Goodman’s actions “likely saved lives.”
“Last Wednesday, I was inside the Senate chamber when Officer Eugene Goodman led an angry mob away from it at great personal risk. His quick thinking and decisive action that day likely saved lives, and we owe him a debt of gratitude,” Casey tweeted.
“His name is USCP Officer Eugene Goodman. Remember his name. He almost certainly saved lives on Wednesday. My thanks, Officer Goodman. THANK YOU,” tweeted CNN’s Kristin Wilson.
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) tweeted that Goodman “kept murderous rioters away from the Senate chamber and saved the lives of those inside. God bless him for his courage.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Senate nominee Jaime Harrison urged Congressional leaders to give Goodman the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“The word hero does not appropriately describe officer Eugene Goodman. His judgment & heroism may have saved our Republic. I hope @SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer @WhipClyburn consider him for the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is the least we can do,” Harrison tweeted.