‘What I saw was a scene of war’: Officer testifies about January 6

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(NewsNation) — Former U.S. Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards had already been knocked unconscious by pro-Trump rioters during the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising when she woke up on a flight of stairs and ran to help fellow officers trying to hold a thin line against a wave of protesters.

What she saw there, as Capitol police and officers from the Washington D.C. Metro Police Department desperately tried to feign the assailants, was something she said made her “take her breath away.” in the throat”.

During harrowing testimony to the Jan. 6 Committee of Inquiry on Thursday evening, Edwards described witnessing a “scene of war” in which his fellow officers were beaten and bloodied by rioters at the Capitol who were targeting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Donald Trump falsely claimed he had won.

“There were officers on the ground, they were bleeding, they were vomiting, I saw friends with blood on their faces,” Edwards said. “…It was carnage. It was chaos.

Edwards said she rushed to help those around her, slipping in blood and catching falling officers as she went. She tried to give medical aid and decontaminate people who had been hit with pepper spray amid the chaos.

She saw a fellow officer, Brian Sicknick, stepping back from the line, pale as a “sheet of paper” holding his head in his hands. Edwards said “alarm bells” went off and she moved in to help Sicknick. That’s when she too was hit with pepper spray.

United States Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards speaks before a January 6 House Select Committee hearing.

Another officer came to Edwards’ aid and got her to be decontaminated. But he did not succeed. They were hit with tear gas before any decontamination.

These are just some of the heartbreaking memories of Edwards, the “proud” granddaughter of a Marine who fought in the Korean War, before the Board of Inquiry Thursday night.

She also recalls seeing Joseph Biggs, a leader of the far-right extremist group the ‘Proud Boys’, colluding with Ryan Samel, a fellow rioter who has since been charged with assaulting an officer, before the pair turns the crowd against the Capitol Police and began pushing back the police lines using bike racks.

Biggs had used a megaphone to denounce members of Congress during the riot. Soon after, however, Edwards said he began to turn the conversation and the crowd against the Capitol police. Biggs began questioning police about their pay and how many paychecks they had missed during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve worked through, I can say cautiously, hundreds of civil unrest events…I know when I’ve been turned into a bad guy,” Edwards told the committee at the time. “And that’s when I turned to my sergeant and said the understatement of the century… I said ‘Serge, I think we’re going to need a few more people here. ‘”

Almost immediately after Edwards said this, the crowd surged forward. She grabbed onto two bike racks and did what she could to hold the line, but admitted she knew herself and four other officers couldn’t hold out for long against the wave of rioters streaming towards them.

FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Trump supporters attempt to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. A House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising is moving quickly to disregard at least one of Donald Trump’s allies, former White House aide Steve Bannon. It comes as the former president pushes the investigation back into a new trial. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Rioters picked up the bike racks and rushed forward. Edwards remembers the bike rack passing over her head as she was pushed back. Then her foot took a step behind her. His chin hit a railing, knocking him out. As she fell backwards, the back of her head crashed into a set of concrete steps.

Edwards said she never imagined she would face something like this as a police officer.

The rioters called her “Nancy Pelosi’s dog”, a “traitor” and “incompetent” and they prepared to storm the Capitol. But at those times, Edwards said she remembered her grandfather, who had donned a navy uniform to fight in Korea. Despite the denigration of the crowd, she was “proud” to wear her uniform that day.

“They dared to question my honor. They dared to question my loyalty and they dared to question my duty. I am a proud American and will gladly sacrifice anything to make sure the America my grandfather stood for is here for many years to come.

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