Capitol, DC officers still working through trauma of Jan. 6 riot

Thursday marks four months since a mob of pro-Trump rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol.

Despite the time that’s passed, some officers who defended lawmakers at America’s seat of government are still struggling with what they experienced.

READ MORE: MPD officer pens letter urging elected officials to ‘recognize officers’ actions’ during Capitol Riot

On Wednesday, D.C. Police Officer Mike Fanone released an open letter to elected leaders, first reported by FOX 5. In it, he details his psychological trauma and feelings that lawmakers are indifferent to what officers experienced. 

Fanone and his partner, both narcotics officers, responded to the Capitol after they heard the radio calls from officers in distress. While trying to hold a door at the catacomb entrance on the Capitol’s westside, rioters pulled Fanone outside. 

READ MORE: DC medical examiner says Capitol officer’s death in January 6 riot was not homicide

"I was pulled out into the crowd, away from my fellow officers, beaten with fists, metal objects, stripped of my issued badge, radio and ammunition magazine and electrocuted numerous times with a Taser," Fanone wrote. 

Nearly four months later, as his physical injuries have healed, Fanone said he’s facing a new battle with PTSD.

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"In many ways I still live my life as if it is January 07, 2021," he wrote. "I struggle daily with the emotional anxiety of having survived such a traumatic event but I also struggle with the anxiety of hearing those who continue to downplay the events of that day and those who would ignore them altogether with their lack of acknowledgement. The indifference shown to my colleagues and I is disgraceful." 

In a conversation with FOX 5’s Lindsay Watts, Fanone said it’s not just words by former President Donald Trump or Republicans who whitewashed what happened, but congressional Democrats and D.C. leaders too. He feels no one has properly recognized D.C. officers who responded to Capitol.

When asked what he wanted to see, Fanone said something befitting of the unprecedented attack. He said he feels lawmakers have moved on. 

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn has also been vocal about Jan. 6.

"I guess one of my ways of coping is to talk about it," Dunn said.
Dunn said he’s also dealing with PTSD from what he experienced.

"Images of officers just crying for help and crying, tears streaming down their face and these possessed people. It’s going to be ingrained in people’s heads and memories for a long time," Dunn said.

He’s talked openly about rioters’ racism toward him, and after sharing his own story of being called the N-word, he said he’s heard from other Black officers.

"One my of coworkers, they were calling him an N-word to his face and said he was a "tough N-word" and if he didn’t have that gun they would show him what type of N-word he really was," Dunn said.

He said he supports Fanone for speaking up about the lasting invisible impacts of defending democracy.

"You’ve got to figure out how to live with it. I talk with a therapist weekly. I encourage my coworkers do the same," Dunn said.