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Good, McGuire should be barred from holding office, says former DC police officer injured on Jan. 6

Retired D.C. police officer Michael Fanone wants you to watch the bodycam footage from the most traumatic day of his life.

It’s been more than three years since he and more than 100 of his fellow officers were injured as a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the election of President Biden. Fanone is frustrated, exhausted and concerned.

Those emotions are a result of his yearslong campaign to dispel the many myths surrounding Jan. 6, 2021, and the public apathy he says he often encounters in the course of that work.

“I’ve been out here for three years trying to educate Americans as to what really happened on Jan. 6,” Fanone told The Daily Progress. “Going places and talking to people, years out from the day itself, who seem just completely indifferent to my experience and the experience of so many other police officers on the sixth.”

Fanone describes himself as “politically inconvenient.” He’s a White man from the suburbs. He has neck tattoos and a Southern accent. He voted for Trump in 2016.

Many Americans, especially Trump voters, don’t want to hear his story, Fanone said. Some have gone so far as to call him a traitor. He and his family have received violent threats.

“It’s fighting against what seems oftentimes like an insurmountable opponent,” he said. “It’s me and my story versus the former president and those that support him, and everything that they bring to bear against people that oppose him.”

He is determined, nonetheless. Armed with footage from his own body-worn camera, the Alexandria native recently completed a tour across Virginia, meeting with legislators, community leaders and newspapers to tell his story in hopes it might prevent more political violence and a repeat of the day that changed his life.

“I knew the first time that I saw my body-worn camera footage that that would serve as a definitive account of what really happened on the sixth and how brutal the violence really was,” he said.

That footage is disturbing to watch. Viewers are put in the shoes of a policeman being dragged away from other officers and into an angry mob.

“I got one!” a man yells as he pulls Fanone away from the outnumbered officers.

Surrounded, separated and scared, Fanone was beaten with a flagpole and shocked at the base of his skull with a Taser. He suffered a heart attack and sustained a traumatic brain injury. He can recall rioters reaching for his gun tell him they would use it to kill him. He tried to appeal to the humanity of his assailants.

“I’ve got kids,” he can be heard yelling in the video.

That seemed to help. With some assistance from sympathetic people in the crowd, he eventually got back inside the Capitol. He was unconscious for several minutes as other police officers sought to get him medical assistance.

Fanone has dedicated himself to teaching people about Jan. 6, willingly reliving his trauma, he said, because he hopes to counter the lies and conspiracy theories that have surfaced since. The presidential election is fast approaching, and Fanone wants people to know about his experience before they cast a ballot in November.

“I don’t know who’s going to win in 2024,” he said. “But I’m going to do absolutely everything that I can do to ensure that the candidate that does win in 2024 is somebody who respects our democracy, that upholds and values the Constitution and who will actively participate in the peaceful transition of power.”

As Fanone continues to condemn the violence that tore him down, Trump continues to claim those who perpetrated that violence have been “treated terribly and very unfairly.”

The former — and potentially next — president has repeatedly honored the men and women now incarcerated for their participation in the criminal insurrection, some who pleaded guilty to their charges and others who were found guilty by juries. Trump regularly refers to them as “hostages” and has floated the possibility of pardoning them for their crimes if he is reelected.

“That language is conveying a message that we’re at war. We’re at war with the opposing political party, and the opposing party has taken hostages or is holding people essentially as prisoners of war,” Fanone said. “If that’s not a message designed to invoke or incite violence, I don’t know what is.”

The upcoming election in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District features two Republican candidates who have their own firsthand accounts of Jan. 6.

Rep. Bob Good was one of 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the election results.

His primary challenger, state Sen. John McGuire, attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally which immediately preceded the violence. McGuire has said he did not enter the Capitol, but that doesn’t matter to Fanone.

“There’s absolutely no way that anyone who was at the Capitol that day was not aware of the fact that police officers were being assaulted. And so their mere presence, to me, should disqualify them from holding office in this country,” Fanone said.

Similarly, Fanone said he believes that Good and his 146 colleagues should be disqualified from holding public office. Good, he said, hasn’t told the truth about what happened that day.

“Certifying an election is a significant role that they play in our election process and in our democracy. To cast a vote like that, with no evidence to support it, to me, is just as egregious as storming the Capitol and assaulting police officers,” Fanone said, referring to the lawmakers as the “insurrectionist members of Congress.”

“It may not be a crime, but it certainly should preclude them from representing Americans, because essentially what they did was violated their oath to the Constitution,” Fanone said.

Neither the Good nor McGuire campaigns agreed to a Daily Progress request for comment.

Fanone sees parallels between what he witnessed in 2021 and the infamous 2017 Unite the Right rally-turned-riot, when White supremacists descended upon Charlottesville to protest the removal of the city’s Confederate monuments, wreaking havoc, injuring dozens and killing counterprotester Heather Heyer in the process.

Fanone said that on Jan. 6 it wasn’t until he was dragged out of the Lower West Terrace tunnel that he realized the magnitude of the crowd that had gathered at the Capitol.

“Some of the most horrifying images were not those of the individuals themselves. It was the banners and flags that they were waving as they marched up the West Terrace. I saw swastikas, Confederate flags, all these symbols of hatred being unfurled on the Capitol steps,” he said.

Those same anarchist, racist, homophobic and anti-immigrant symbols were also seen at Unite the Right, he said.

Several months ago, Fanone and some friends went on a fishing trip on a chartered boat in Maryland. The captain was a staunch Trump supporter and spent much of the trip talking politics. That didn’t bother Fanone much. It was a daylong excursion, and he was there to fish.

“I’m pretty sure that like by the end of the trip, he just thought that I was another f—king good old boy trying to catch some rockfish,” Fanone said.

But it was around the end of the trip when the captain began talking about Jan. 6. He said it wasn’t violent. He said he didn’t know any police officers who were hurt that day.

That’s when Fanone spoke up.

“I was like, ‘We can debate why it happened. We can even debate whether or not Donald Trump is f—king responsible. But let me tell you, I was there,’” he said.

Fanone pulled out his phone and showed the man his bodycam footage. They watched it together.

He still expects that boat captain to vote for Trump in November.

“But what he won’t ever do is tell someone else that Jan. 6 was not violent and that police officers weren’t brutally assaulted,” Fanone said. “You’ve got to take the small victories.”

What Fanone is more concerned about is not hardcore Trump supporters, but those disillusioned by the political process who don’t plan to vote in the upcoming election.

“They feel like we got two old White motherf—kers and neither of them cares about or speaks to any of the issues that I’m passionate about,” he said.

He hopes to convince those people that this election is worth their participation, if not because of policies and positions then because of freedom and fairness.

Biden, he said, has had a very long political career.

“He’s lost a few races in his lifetime, and he’s got a track record of conceding. He’s never tried to overthrow the results of a free and fair election,” Fanone said. “Donald Trump has a much shorter career in politics and already has one insurrection under his belt. I think the choice is pretty clear if you value democracy and freedom which candidate you’re going to support. At least it is to me.”


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