Aquilino Gonell, a police officer who was beaten so badly during the Jan. 6 Capitol siege that he was forced to withdraw from law enforcement, said in an opinion piece for the New York Times that he was betrayed by former President Donald Trump became.
“Although I witnessed the insurgents’ brutal attack firsthand, I was shocked to hear Ms. Hutchinson explain the extent to which former President Donald Trump incited the people who nearly killed me,” Gonell and wrote was referring to Cassidy Hutchinson’s recent testimony during the House Inquiry Committee hearings into the attack.
Hutchinson testified under oath that Trump angrily threw things — including his lunch — after talks with Attorney General Bill Barr that there was no widespread evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Under penalty of perjury, she said he was angry that armed supporters weren’t allowed at his rally, defended rioters who chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” saying the vice president deserved it, and said the rioters had “nothing wrong.” did”.
Gonell described himself as furious at Hutchinson’s testimony and the former president’s contempt “for everyone but himself” while his armed supporters scaled fences, smashed glass and attacked Capitol police to disrupt the election’s certification.
“I was certain that I would die that day, trampled underfoot by the hordes of President Trump supporters who were trying to stop the official handover of power on his behalf.”
Experts estimate that 10,000 rioters were present on the Capitol grounds during the attack. Five people died during the siege and four police officers defending the Capitol that day subsequently died by suicide.
Gonell declined Insider’s request for comment on this article.
“If my life was in danger, I would have been entitled to use deadly force. But I didn’t want to start a massacre. Over the course of the five-hour fight, my hands were bloody from being smashed by a stolen police baton,” the Iraq war veteran wrote. “My right foot and left shoulder were so damaged that it took me multiple surgeries to repair them. My head was hit by a pipe with such force that if it weren’t for my helmet I would undoubtedly have suffered brain damage.”
As a result of the injuries he sustained during the attack, Gonell said he continues to live with chronic pain and his doctor told him to stop serving in the police force.
“The physical and emotional damage I suffered on January 6th not only disrupted my career but also turned my life upside down. Five of my law enforcement colleagues died and more than 850 rioters were arrested. So many families have been ruined because of man’s lust for power.”
While applauding Hutchinson and those who have so far come forward to testify about the attack, Gonell described the behavior of Republicans who are downplaying the significance of the riot and refusing to testify under oath as “annoying.”
“The empowerment of Mr. Trump must stop now. Not only should he be banned from running for any other government office, he should never be allowed near the White House again,” Gonell wrote. “I believe he broke his oath to defend the Constitution, to the detriment of me, my colleagues and all Americans he was tasked with protecting.”