Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman says January 6 attacks 'could have easily been a bloodbath'

·3 min read
US Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman at the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021.
US Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman at the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021.Melina Mara / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
  • Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman reflected on January 6 in a podcast interview.

  • Goodman first gained prominence for directing a mob of rioters away from senators.

  • He said the attacks "could have easily been a bloodbath" and discussed why he's avoided the spotlight.

Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman said in his first interview since January 6, 2021, that the deadly riot at the US Capitol last year "could have easily been a bloodbath" had it not been for the restraint that officers showed.

Speaking on an episode of "3 Brothers No Sense" — a podcast co-hosted by a fellow Capitol police officer, Byron Evans — Goodman, an army veteran who served in Iraq, publicly discussed his experiences on January 6 for the first time.

Goodman first gained notoriety after a video showed him holding off a mob of rioters beneath the Senate chamber, then luring them upstairs and away from an unprotected door leading to the chamber. Goodman's diversionary tactic and quick thinking have been credited with possibly saving the lives of Vice President Mike Pence and several other senators.

"I honestly didn't know that they were that far in the building," Goodman said of the rioters.

Goodman confronted the rioters just after passing Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah outside the chamber upstairs, where he warned the senator to turn around. That moment was first revealed during former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial last year.

At one point, the hosts jokingly asked Goodman if he had considered not redirecting the Utah senator — "eh, it's Mitt Romney" — prompting an uncomfortable rebuke from the officer.

"Uh, no," Goodman replied.

Goodman said on the podcast that his military training, which taught him how to "think on the fly," proved crucial in those moments. "Obviously, I wasn't thinking about the military while I was in that moment, but it definitely came together for me," he said.

He ultimately led the crowd toward where he thought other officers would be on hand, though he was uncertain in the moment.

"They looked to be coming my way, but I wasn't sure," he said. "By the time I got upstairs, they were there."

Goodman discussed the way the events of that day had been interpreted, including why police didn't meet the rioters with greater force. He said that officers made the right decision by opting not to escalate, given that some rioters may have been armed.

"It could have been easily been a bloodbath, so kudos everybody there that showed a measure of restraint with regards to deadly force, because it could have been bad," Goodman said. "Really, really bad."

"You had a few that were angry and screaming and you had others that would, you know, 'I'm here for you' and this and that and the third," he added.

Goodman also touched on some of the positive experiences he's had since January 6, including escorting then Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on the day of her inauguration.

"Everybody calls me Gucci at work," he remarked.

Goodman at one point described a lunch with recent lunch with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fellow Capitol police officer Harry Dunn, and DC Police Officer Michael Fanone where he heard about the negative experiences endured by the officers, who've been more outspoken in the year since the attack.

"He's said he's out with his daughter, and he's had random people run up and throw drinks in his face, and stuff like that," Goodman said, referring to Fanone. "That's mostly why I haven't been doing any interviews, anything like that, 'cause I just don't want any part of the negativity."

Correction: An initial version of this article said that Goodman was referring to Dunn when describing negative experiences post-January 6. He was actually referring to Fanone.

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