by Julie Kelly
Harry Dunn began his testimony last week before the January 6 select committee by asking for a moment of silence in honor of Brian Sicknick.
The U.S. Capitol police officer, testifying under oath, claimed his “fallen colleague . . . died from injuries he sustained in the line of duty defending the Capitol of our beloved democracy.” The committee members and the audience complied.
Dunn’s remark, quite simply, is a lie. Brain Sicknick, 42, died on January 7 of a stroke caused by blood clots near his brain, a tragic and untimely death that the District of Columbia medical examiner did not tie to the events of the previous day.
It is just the latest example of how the U.S. Capitol Police, a federal agency funded by American taxpayers, has taken a leading role in fabricating the mythology of January 6.
Top brass and rank-and-file officers such as Dunn intentionally continue to mislead the public about what happened that day—especially through the falsehood that Trump fanatics killed a cop during the Capitol protest. “Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” according to a press release issued January 7, 2021. “He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”
Tuesday’s testimony by Dunn and fellow Officer Aquilino Gonell added to the long list of theatrics and political stunts involving Capitol Police officers related to January 6. For the past several months, this rogue agency has acted as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) political enforcers rather than as an objective law enforcement agency.
USCP captured at least 14,000 hours of video from January 6 but refuses to make the footage available to the public. The agency also is attempting to withhold recordings from defense counsel and the news media. An affidavit filed in March by the department’s general counsel confirmed the footage will remain “in the legal control” of USCP.
As part of the legislative branch, the USCP is exempted from Freedom of Information Act rules. No one can legally demand access to the tapes. The agency insists the massive trove of video must remain under seal in order to prevent would-be insurrectionists “who might wish to attack the Capitol again.”
That, of course, is subterfuge. USCP is working hand-in-hand with Democrats to shape the narrative of January 6 while actively concealing video evidence that could expose the truth, such as recordings that show USCP and D.C. Metropolitan police officers attacking the crowd assembled outside with explosive devices and tear gas to provoke a violent response.
Which is why outlandish public testimony from Dunn and Gonell can go unchallenged. Not only does the agency control surveillance video taken on January 6, but there is no footage captured by their own officers. Why? Unlike most cops across the country, USCP officers do not wear body cameras. (A Democratic lawmaker introduced a bill after the riot that would require USCP to use body-worn cameras.)
So USCP officers can make any accusation they want and there is practically no way to refute it. Deniability is wholly in the hands of the U.S. Capitol Police—which is exactly how they want it.
For example, Dunn repeatedly has claimed Trump supporters taunted him with racial slurs during the protest. “I got called a [N-word] a couple dozen times today protecting this building,” Dunn told “Good Morning, America” in March. “Is this America?”
He said the same during last week’s committee hearing. After telling some protesters inside the Capitol that he voted for Joe Biden, Dunn described the alleged reaction: “That prompted a torrent of racial epithets. One woman in a pink ‘MAGA’ shirt yelled, ‘You hear that, guys, this nigger voted for Joe Biden!’ Then the crowd, perhaps around twenty people, joined in, screaming ‘Boo! Fucking nigger!’ No one had ever called me a ‘nigger’ while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer.”
Now, there’s a chance what Dunn described really happened—and if it did, it was an ugly display from vile people that should be roundly condemned. But it’s hard to believe, given how the USCP continues to help Democrats demonize Trump supporters over January 6, that the agency hasn’t yet released video clips of it happening. After all, USCP still maintains ultimate control of the footage. Nearly seven months later, USCP partisans haven’t found that exchange on tape?
Color me skeptical.
Ditto for Officer Gonell. The former veteran referred to protesters as “traitors” (nobody has been charged with treason) and claimed what he saw on January 6 was worse than what he saw in combat. “I was more afraid working at the Capitol than during my entire Army deployment to Iraq,” Gonell told the committee.
Gonell criticized a handful of congressmen for holding a press conference outside the Justice Department last Tuesday to protest the pre-trial detention of innocent January 6 defendants. “It’s pathetic,” Gonell, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, said. “They shouldn’t be elected officials any more.”
Gonell also said he was gravely injured during the chaos. “I sustained injuries to both of my hands, my left shoulder, my left calf, and my right foot. I have already undergone fusion surgery on my foot, and I was just told that I need surgery on my left shoulder.” He’s been on leave from the department for six months.
But there is no video publicly -available to show how Gonell was injured; in fact, there’s no recording of him at all. This seems odd. The Justice Department, as a coalition of news organizations recently noted, often publicly posts clips favorable to their side. Why hasn’t the agency or Justice Department posted the footage showing the attack on Gonell?
Further, no one has been charged with assaulting Gonell. More than 100 protesters have been charged so far with attacking police officers on January 6—but not one has been arrested or charged for injuring Gonell. Protesters who allegedly assaulted D.C. Metropolitan officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges, both of whom participated in Pelosi’s show trial last week, have been identified and charged.
Gonell said he thought he would die. So where are his alleged attackers?
But, as usual, facts and proof don’t matter. Journalists and commentators accepted the officers’ unsubstantiated testimony without question. Writing in The Hill, Andrew McCarthy, who initially reported Brian Sicknick had been “murdered,” applauded the “devastating testimony of four heroic police officers.” McCarthy called their accounts “unimpeachable” while criticizing Pelosi for refusing to seat Representatives James Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.)—“tireless Trump apologists” according to McCarthy—on her select committee.
“Pelosi had nothing to fear from Jordan and Banks,” McCarthy wrote. “The speaker claims to desire the truth, but the truth never worries about being challenged. No one could have laid a glove on these witnesses.”
Which is exactly why Pelosi did not seat Jordan and Banks. McCarthy and others might accept the hyper-partisan rhetoric from Dunn and Gonell as indisputable fact but it does not make it the truth. Jordan and Banks were poised to ask the witnesses tougher questions, not the least of which was to explain why requests for additional security were denied. That’s why Pelosi kept them off the committee. She did not want her version of the narrative to be challenged.
Only someone who has not paid any attention to how the U.S. Capitol Police department has conducted itself over the past seven months would take these officers’ accusations at face-value. The lies, the subterfuge, and the political theater from the agency should alarm all Americans, especially since USCP plans to expand its unaccountable operations to other states.
A kid-glove approach to federal officers blatantly participating in a political operation designed to help Democrats and destroy Republicans, including hundreds of Americans who participated in the events at the capital on January 6, is not just wrongheaded but dangerous.