Washington, D.C. Metro Police officer Michael Fanone and Officer Harry Dunn have been among the few officers allowed to reveal the raw terror thy faced during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He and Officer Brian Sicknick's mother and girlfriend have been among the few willing to speak out against Republicans and demand an investigation into the attack.
The Capitol Police released a blistering statement citing the "physical trauma" and "mental anguish" they experienced. But now, the officers are taking it even further.
CNN.com cited several officers who are coming forward to share the violence they faced and the panic that they were about to die at the hands of the insurrectionists. It comes as Republicans continue to deny or downplay the severity of the Jan. 6 attack.
US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell remembered being beaten with a flagpole that day. It sliced open his hand and combined with the fog of bear spray soaked through his skin.
"They called us traitors. They beat us. They dragged us," Gonell told CNN.com. "And I could hear them, 'We're going to shoot you. We're going to kill you. You're choosing your paycheck over the country. You're a disgrace. You're a traitor.'"
US Capitol Police Officer Byron Evans and US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell recalled being inside the Senate chamber with 100 senators and the vice president with his hand on his weapon. He was "mentally preparing for a life-or-death situation," the story explained.
"I remember thinking, all that stuff like, Byron, this is the day. All those times you've given thought on what you would do, you're doing it. This is the day," Evans said.
For Gonell, since his hand was sliced open, it's made his ability to shoot his gun a challenge. He still has injuries to his shoulders. He tried to "walk-off" an injury to his right foot, but after a few weeks, he said he had to have it looked at because he couldn't walk. He told CNN it's still hard to watch the footage and relive the assault.
He's an immigrant who came to the U.S. when he was just 12 years old. He served in the Army Reserves and deployed to Iraq in 2003. Still, when the attackers came upon him, all they saw was a "brown" face.
"When we were in the Lower West Terrace and throughout the whole ordeal I had people calling me immigrant, you're not American, you are a traitor," Gonell said. "I went overseas to protect our homeland from foreign threats, but yet here I am battling them in our own Capitol."
"It was very scary, because I thought I was going to lose my life," he continued. "Then I started getting beat up with a flagpole, with a flag, the American flag that I swore to defend here and overseas. And I don't know how I got this strength, but I hit that person so hard that they let me go. I started backpedaling."
Evans remembered that once they finally were able to secure the senators and the vice president, they turned on televisions to see what was happening.
"I just remember the anger I felt when I saw those images, busting windows, climbing the walls and stuff like that. It was an audible gasp in the room, seeing those images," he said.
As of Thursday, there are still 10 Capitol Police officers who are out due to injuries they received on Jan. 6, NBC Washington reported. They were among the 140 officers who endured physical injuries during the insurrection, but many still face emotional trauma they never expected to face in their job.
"One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake, to name some of the injuries," Gus Papathanasiou, union chairman, told the press in late January.
"I've talked to officers who have done two tours in Iraq who said this was scarier to them than their time in combat," echoed acting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III after the attack.
"I bled, I sweat and I fought to prevent those people coming in through that entrance," Gonell said. "We got pushed back all the way to magnetometer by the second door. And just to regain that space took us about another hour. We literally were fighting inch by inch. And to move one step, that was a 10-minute, 15-minute ordeal."
"You just feel a personal connection to something that you protect every single day, and then to see the, on the floor, just doing whatever they wanted to do, doing things that no one is allowed to do, so, so cavalier -- it definitely made you angry," Evans said. "To see them up there, like it was some funhouse, that will always stick in my mind."
It was all in an effort to protect officials, some of whom now deny that it was all that serious.