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Officers to share Jan. 6 stories in UVa-produced documentary coming in 2024

One year from today, six officers and widows of fallen officers who served during the January 6 attack of the Capitol will tell their stories in a feature-length documentary produced by the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

Just four months after presenting the first Defenders of Democracy awards to police officers and widows of officers who served during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol Building, the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia announced production for a documentary that will tell the stories of those same award recipients. The documentary subjects will take the audience through their accounts of Jan. 6 and the aftermath of the attack.

“The Center for Politics is undertaking this documentary because Americans must never forget the dangerous, deadly insurrection that happened on January 6, 2021,” said Center for Politics director and documentary executive producer Larry Sabato. “We’ve learned since that the invasion of the Capitol was part of a much broader plan to steal the election for Donald Trump even though he had clearly lost. If we don’t learn the lessons of Trump’s attempted coup d’etat, it could happen again.”

According to the no-longer-standing House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, Donald Trump is at the root of the attack for creating the ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen from him.” That lie spiraled into a plot to halt the joint session of Congress scheduled to affirm the presidential election results.

In an October 2022 testimony against Stewart Rhodes and other Oath Keeper members, Graydon Young claimed he and others believed they were “attacking Congress in the manner the French had attacked the Bastille at the outset of the French Revolution.”

During the October Defenders of Democracy Award ceremony, one recipient shared their thoughts on the Big Lie.

“You cannot kill an ideology, and I think that’s where we are struggling right now,” said Dunn. “But for all those who were directly involved, throw them in jail.”

Just nine days after the election, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency announced that the “November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”

Since Jan. 6, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of D.C. confirms that more than 700 people have been arrested for their involvement in the attack on the Capitol. So far, more than 200 of those people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees.

During the five-hour attack, participants assaulted 140 officers and contributed to the deaths of five people. The widows who will be featured in the “Defenders of Democracy” documentary lost their husbands to suicide after they served in the attack. One of the deceased officers sustained a head injury on Jan. 6 that he could not recover from, says Glenn Crossman, Director of Programs for the UVa Center for Politics.

“I think a lot of times, with tragedies like this, people forget about the people on the front line,” said Crossman. “I think the police officers get overshadowed by other stories, so this [documentary] was important to know what happened that day.”

The Center hired 10th Collective, a multimedia production agency, to bring the officers’ stories to the big screen. 10th Collective is known for producing the “Seeing Is Believing” documentary about Miami Heat assistant coach Caron Butler.

The producers have invited their six documentary subjects to decide on the final message of the film and the stories they want to tell. Crossman describes the group as “dynamic,” stemming from white, Black and Hispanic backgrounds between the ages of 32 and 51 years old.

The Center for Politics began filming on the day of the Defenders of Democracy award ceremony , and plans to release the documentary on the third anniversary of the Capitol attack. In the meantime, Crossman says he will submit the documentary to film festivals and streaming platforms.


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