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Police officer who was beaten during the Capitol insurrection breaks down in tears during House hearing

Business Insider logo Business Insider 7/27/2021 insider@insider.com (Connor Perrett,John Haltiwanger)
a close up of a man: US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell wipes his eye as he watches a video being displayed during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Jim Bourg/Pool via AP © Jim Bourg/Pool via AP US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell wipes his eye as he watches a video being displayed during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Jim Bourg/Pool via AP
  • A US Capitol Police officer broke down in tears Tuesday during a House hearing about the January 6 riot at the Capitol.
  • Sgt. Aquilino Gonell was beaten with a flagpole and sprayed with chemical spray during the deadly riot.
  • He cried as video of the insurrection played at the beginning of the House hearing.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who was beaten with a flagpole and hit with chemical spray during hand-to-hand combat during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, broke down in tears during a House hearing about the riot on Tuesday.

The officer cried as video of the deadly insurrection played at the beginning of the House hearing investigating the mob attack.

Gonell later testified that he heard "specific threats" against the lives of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Vice President Mike Pence.

"My fellow officers and I were punched, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants, and even blinded with eye-damaging lasers," he said.

He said the insurrection and what officers were "subjected to that day was like something from a Medieval battle."


Video: Capitol Police Officer on insurrection: Once it was over, you're attempting to put together what happened (NBC News)

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"We fought hand to hand, inch by inch to prevent an invasion," Gonell said, stating that he thought he was going to die that day.

Gonell, who immigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic, also spoke about his service in the US military.

"The rioters called me traitor. A disgrace. And shouted that I, I an Army veteran and police officer, should be executed," Gonell said, stating that he was "more afraid" on January 6 than during his entire deployment in Iraq.

His emotive testimony came during the first hearing held by the House select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection.

The Capitol attack was provoked by President Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election, and false claims that it was "stolen" from him. Republican lawmakers have continued to amplify Trump's falsehoods about the election as they vie to whitewash the insurrection.

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