Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards recounts January 6 scene

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards told lawmakers what she witnessed on January 6, 2021 was “carnage” and “chaos” as she fought the mob.

WASHINGTON — Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards described to lawmakers Thursday night what she could only describe as the “theater of war” she and other officers were facing when rioters began viciously attacking them on Jan. 6, 2021.

“It was kind of like what I’ve seen in movies. I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Edwards said.

“There were officers on site. they bled. I slipped in people’s blood.”

“It was carnage,” she said. “It was chaos.”

Edwards’ raw and sometimes explicit testimony played out in the first public hearing on the findings of the House committee investigating the US Capitol riot.

Her memories of the day included the last moment in the limelight of cops fighting for hours as a violent mob of pro-Trump rioters, some armed with whistles, bats and bear spray, stormed into the Capitol and quickly overran the overwhelmed police. More than 100 police officers were injured, many beaten, bleeding and injured.

Sitting over her shoulder as Edwards testified were Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell, as well as Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, all of whom testified about the violence they suffered at a panel hearing last summer. There were moments in her testimony that brought Dunn, a 13-year veteran of the force, to tears.

Edwards’ testimony was accompanied by a flood of never-before-seen footage, testimonies and evidence the committee has collected over the past 11 months to document how then-President Donald Trump’s words and actions led to the attack on the Capitol . Footage shows officers being beaten with flagpoles, trash cans and bike racks.

“My literal blood, my tears of sweat were spilled in defense of the building where I’ve spent countless bank holidays and weekends of work,” Edwards said.

Edwards said she worked on hundreds of civil unrest cases, but it quickly became apparent that this one was different. She asked her manager for support.

“I think we’re going to need a few more people down here,” she recalled, calling it “the understatement of the century” as the police force quickly outnumbered the hundreds of rioters.

She said she suffered a concussion after rioters pulled a bike rack over her head and pushed her backwards. “I blacked out,” she said, adding that she suffered from fainting spells for months after the riot.

But the moment Edwards remembered most vividly was the moment she saw her colleague Brian Sicknick turn “eerily pale.”

Sicknick, who was injured while confronting rioters during the January 6 riot, suffered a stroke and died of natural causes the day after the attack. Members of his family sat next to officers Dunn and Gonell as Edwards described his injuries.

Before she could help Sicknick, Edwards said, she was pepper sprayed by the crowd.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle,” Edwards said. “I’m not battle-hardened. That day it was just hours of hand-to-hand combat.”

Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney thanked Edwards and the other officers and their families for being there and assisting with their investigation. The Wyoming Republican noted the sacrifice the officers made that day with the limited resources and equipment they were given.

“As part of our investigation, we will present information about what the White House and other intelligence agencies knew and why the Capitol was not better prepared,” Cheney said.

But Cheney pushed back Republicans, who had urged the Jan. 6 panel to focus more on safety flaws.

“We will not lose sight of the fact that Capitol Police did not prompt the crowd to attack,” she said. “And we will not blame the violence provoked by Donald Trump that day on the officials who have valiantly defended it all.” Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards recounts January 6 scene

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