Newly released security camera footage revealed that the Capitol police officer celebrated as a hero for diverting an angry mob away from legislators during the Jan. 6 insurrection also possibly saved the life of a specific legislator who didn’t realize he was in immediate danger. Sen. Mitt Romney didn’t know he was approaching a white supremacist mob when he first encountered Officer Eugene Goodman in the hallway of the Capitol building, The Washington Post reported. Rep. Stacey Plaskett presented footage of the scene during the impeachment trial on Wednesday.
“You all may have seen footage of Officer Goodman previously, but there’s more to his heroic story. In this security footage you can see Officer Goodman running to respond to the initial breach,” Plaskett said, narrating the footage. “Officer Goodman passes Senator Mitt Romney and directs him to turn around in order to get to safety. On the first floor just beneath them, the mob had already started to search for the Senate Chamber.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she’s introducing legislation to award Goodman and other officers who stood guard during the insurrection with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow, Pelosi said in a press release. “The service of the Capitol Police force that day brings honor to our Democracy, and their accepting this Gold Medal will bring luster to this award,” she said in the release.
Goodman initially attracted praise when HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic tweeted footage of the officer diverting insurrectionists on Jan. 6. It has since been viewed more than 10 million times. “Just now realizing how much of a close call it was in the Senate,” Bobic tweeted. He told Good Morning America that certifying electoral votes from the presidential election, the act that the terrorist mob was trying to interrupt, is normally a routine practice, but last month, “a commotion” and “yelling” began during the process. “And I ran downstairs to the first floor of the Senate building, where I encountered this lone police officer courageously making a stand against the mob of 20 or so Trump supporters who breached the capitol itself and were trying to get upstairs,” Bobic said.
Goodman, with no gun in hand and no tactical gear, pushed the mob leader in an effort to bait him and ran in the opposite direction of the Senate Chamber. “They were yelling ‘Traitors. We want justice. This is our America. If we don’t stop this now, we won’t get justice. Trump won,’” Bobic told Good Morning America. At times, the insurrectionists chased Goodman slowly.
“Officer Eugene Goodman’s heroic actions on Jan 6th saved countless lives & prevented a violent mob from breaching the Senate Chamber,” Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. tweeted Wednesday. “We all owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Read Pelosi’s complete letter:
“This week has been an historic one for the Country and the Congress. We have been reminded of the extraordinary valor of the United States Capitol Police, the men and women who risked and gave their lives to save ours, becoming martyrs for our democracy.
The outstanding heroism and patriotism of our heroes deserve and demand our deepest appreciation, which is why I am honored to introduce legislation to pay tribute to the Capitol Police and other law enforcement personnel who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6 with the Congressional Gold Medal: the highest honor that the Congress can bestow. The service of the Capitol Police force that day brings honor to our Democracy, and their accepting this Gold Medal will bring luster to this award. A draft of this legislation is attached.
We must never forget the sacrifice of Officer Brian Sicknick, Officer Howard Liebengood, MPD Officer Jeffrey Smith and the more than 140 law enforcement officers who sustained physical injuries, or the courage of heroes such as Officer Eugene Goodman. Indeed, we must stay vigilant against the “silent artillery of time,” as President Lincoln stated in his Lyceum Address – a speech that, fittingly, warned of the dire threat that mob insurrectionists could represent to our Democracy: “If [danger] ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.” We promised the families that we will never forget.”