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Congress Will Award Capitol Police Officer Congressional Gold Medal For Bravery During Riot

Washington, DC – Legislation has been introduced in both chambers of Congress to grant a Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman for his heroics in leading rioters away from the doors of the Senate during the Capitol riot.

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) sponsored the legislation in the Senate and it already had 67 co-sponsors as of Friday, WUSA reported.

The Senate is expected to vote on the proposed bill no later than Monday and then it will pass to the House of Representatives.

“But for Officer Goodman’s acts of courage, people would have died or been severely injured,” Van Hollen said when he introduced the bill titled the “Officer Eugene Goodman Congressional Gold Medal Act,” WUSA reported.

Officer Goodman’s heroic actions became famous when a cell phone video surfaced that showed the moment that the officer pushed back against a group of rioters who had made their way inside the Capitol building, The Washington Post reported.

The encounter took place at the exact same time police were frantically trying to shut and lock all of the doors to the open Senate chamber above them.

The video showed Officer Goodman gave the man at the front of the group of rioters a shove, and then backed away and picked up a retractable baton that had been discarded on the floor.

Then he started up the staircase with the leader of the group following just a couple of feet behind him.

Officer Goodman stopped on the landing and faced off with the rioters again briefly, ordering them to “back up, back up,” but the video showed there were dozens of men coming up the stairs after him who were not to be deterred.

He took off up the stairs again with rioters in close pursuit.

The video showed Officer Goodman keyed the microphone on his radio and warned his fellow officers that the rioters had made it to the “second floor.”

When Officer Goodman reached the next landing, he was standing just feet away from the open doors to the Senate chamber.

The chamber can be seen behind him – the doors are located between the two chairs that are up against the wall on the left side of the screen, according to The Washington Post.

The video showed that Officer Goodman distracted the rioters away from the Senate chamber, even giving their leader a shove to get his attention and make him follow him in the other direction.

Rioters barely gave the hallway leading to the Senate a second glance as they pursued Officer Goodman, who led them away from the main entrance to the chamber.

If the rioters had turned right and attempted to enter the Senate chamber, they would have been met by a half a dozen armed Capitol Police officers who were watching the doors for intruders, The Washington Post reported.

Additional video was released during the Senate’s impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on Feb. 10 that showed Officer Goodman redirecting U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to run the other way to escape the mob.

“Officer Eugene Goodman’s bravery and quick thinking saved lives and saved democracy from what could have been an even darker tragedy,” U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) said, according to WUSA. “The Senate and our country owe him an eternal debt. All of Maryland is proud of Officer Goodman’s courage and service to our nation.”

The Congressional Gold Medal has never before been awarded to a member of law enforcement for bravery in the line of duty.

It has only been bestowed upon 168 honorees in 244 years, according to WUSA.

General George Washington was the first recipient, Politico reported.

“It has 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. They are martyrs for our democracy, those who lost their lives,” Pelosi said at a news conference on Thursday.

“We must always remember their sacrifice … We will never forget,” Pelosi promised.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died as a result of injuries sustained during the Capitol riot, laid in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Feb. 2.

“We want to honor them in the best way that we possibly can, and we will continue to do so beyond a medal, but in our hearts,” Pelosi said on Feb. 11.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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