Senate votes unanimously to award Congressional Gold Medals to police who battled rioters as they attacked U.S. Capitol on Jan 6 in ‘highest expression of gratitude’
- U.S. Congress on Tuesday agreed to award to award Congressional Gold Medals to the U.S. Capitol Police and Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department
- Sen. Chuck Schumer said it was the ‘highest expression of gratitude’ that Congress could bestow
- No members of Congress were physically harmed when Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol building
- But one officer died and 100 were injured in violent clashes
- Four more have taken their own lives in the weeks and months since
The U.S. Congress on Tuesday agreed to award Congressional Gold Medals to police officers who fought rioters who tried to overrun the Capitol building, seven months after the attack and two days after authorities announced that two more of those officers had taken their own lives.
‘Awarding the Congressional Gold Medal is a way to commemorate their sacrifice and make sure that the truth of Jan. 6 is recognized and remembered forever,’ Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said on the chamber floor.
He said it was the ‘highest expression of gratitude’ that Congress could bestow.
‘I cannot imagine more worthy recipients than the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend this temple of democracy,’ he added
The honor will go to officers with the U.S. Capitol Police and Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department.
The Senate voted unanimously to award Congressional Gold Medals to police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol from rioters on Jan. 6
Tuesday’s unanimous Senate vote comes after months of discussion about how best to honor the officers who fought a mob of former President Trump’s supporters as they rushed the entrances to the Capitol building.
No member of Congress was physically harmed, but a Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died after confronting the rioters. More than 100 were injured.
The horrors they faced were laid bare last week when officers gave evidence to a House select committee which is investigating how the events of Jan. 6 unfolded.
During an emotional session, three of the four officers said they believed they were going to die as a violent mob stormed the building.
They also discussed the lingering impacts on their mental health.
The award comes during a dark week for the capital’s police officers.
On Monday, it emerged that two more officers who were on duty at the Capitol that day had taken their own lives, bringing the total to four.
President Biden paid tribute to two more officers who took their own lives after serving at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. H e called them ‘American heroes.’
President Joe Biden was among those who paid tribute to the two officers, describing them as, ‘American heroes.’
The medals would be a reminder of what the officers had done, said Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar
While introducing the legislation, she said children of the future would able to see the medals on display in the Smithsonian, and their parents will tell them: ‘This happened, this attack happened.’
The legislation passed on Tuesday authorizes the striking of four medals. Two will go to the Capitol Police and the D.C. police department, and the others will go to the Architect of the Capitol and the Smithsonian Institution, who will put them on public display.
The bravery of the officers was laid out last week in testimony to the House select committee investigating the attack.
Officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack from his injuries, described how he believed would die.
‘I was aware enough to recognize I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm. I was electrocuted, again and again and again with a taser,’ he said.
Video showed how he pleaded with attackers as they discussed killing him with his own gun.
‘I have kids,’ he told them, according to the footage.
Yet passage of the medals bill became a partisan issue when 21 House Republicans voted against the legislation in June.
They objected language referring to a ‘mob of insurrectionists.’
Trump and his supporters have sought to play down the extent of the violence on display, insisting it was a peaceful protest.