Several Capitol Police officers told reporters in an article published this week that their colleague Harry Dunn has made the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection attempt more about race despite two of the officers who died after the attack being white after he accused rioters of calling him the N-word.
In a feature published this week about the long-term effects of the dramatic day on the officers tasked with protecting the U.S. Capitol building, The New York Times described how Dunn, who is Black, reportedly made many of his co-workers uneasy after taking on what appeared to be a self-appointed role as the spokesperson for the force, albeit a role he had permission from department brass to fill.
Days after the Capitol riot, Dunn gave an anonymous interview to BuzzFeed, where he recounted tearfully asking, “Is This America?” in the Capitol Rotunda. He was later cleared to do more speaking engagements, talking with ABC News, CNN, and more.
It was apparent that the event left Dunn shook. Described by colleagues as a usually extroverted person, many of his co-workers noted that the officer began eating lunch alone in his car as he grew increasingly more glum in the days after the attack.
Still, some in the predominately white department, who asked to remain anonymous, stated that by Dunn talking about the racism he endured that day, he made the attacks on the Capitol “all about race.”
However, Dunn argued that parts of his statement were being highlighted more than others and that only did he speak on his own experiences but sought to defend the brave actions of the entire department during his testimony in front of the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6.
“Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?” Dunn said at the time, recalling telling a crowd of rioters after one said, “nobody voted for Joe Biden.”
“You hear that guys, this n-gger voted for Joe Biden!” Dunn claimed in his testimony that a woman in a pink “MAGA” shirt shouted. “Boo! F-cking n-gger!” the crowd allegedly chanted.
Dunn’s outspokenness may have rubbed some officers that wrong way, but not all. Fellow officer, Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who also testified in court with Dunn, spoke out in various interviews, including a recent sit-down with NPR last month. Gonell condemned as “pathetic” and “a disgrace” the recent downplaying of the riot by former Vice President Mike Pence, who was himself a target of rioters who shouted “hang Mike Pence” that day.
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