A Black police officer seen diverting a pro-Trump mob away from the Senate’s entrance during the deadly attacks on the US Capitol has been celebrated as a hero.
A video, captured by HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic, appears to show the officer strategically diverting the mob away from a corridor leading to the Senate chambers, where lawmakers were convening to certify the 2020 presidential election on Wednesday.
Following a Trump “stop the steal” rally, hundreds of enraged white supremacists, QAnon conspiracy theorists and neo-Nazis flooded into the federal building, issuing threats to lawmakers and wreaking a path of destruction.
The video clip shows the officer glancing at the entrance to the Senate chambers as a mob makes its way towards him, up the stairs. He was later identified by CNN and other news outlets as US Capitol Police (USCP) Officer Eugene Goodman.
The cop then confronts the man leading the group of rioters. As the man looks towards the entrance to the Senate, Officer Goodman pushes him and appears to divert his attention. The officer continues to engage the rioter as he moves in the opposite direction from the Senate chambers.
According to Mr Bobic, the video was shot at 2.14pm — a minute before the chambers were sealed. Mr Bobic based this on a contemporaneous report from a Washington Post reporter who said the doors were sealed at 2.15pm.
Capitol Police did not immediately return multiple requests for comment from The Independent and has not confirmed the identity of the officer.
After images of Officer Goodman facing down the white mob on his own emerged, Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips tweeted: “With gratitude and reverence I salute the particular heroism of black U.S. Capitol Police officers like Officer Eugene Goodman who stared grotesque hatred directly in the eye on Wednesday and demonstrated to the world that their Black Lives Matter.”
Christopher J. Hale, a former Democratic nominee for Congress, posted: "Officer Eugene Goodman stopped a mob of white rioters from entering the chambers of the United States Senate.
“At this perilous moment in our nation’s history, he was the one person standing between democracy and the rule of tyrants.”
The main rioter seen in the video confronting officers and clashing with security officials was identified by various media outlets as Doug Jensen, a native of Des Moines, Iowa.
He was later arrested and faced five federal charges, including trespassing.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have referred to the Capitol attack as an act of domestic terror while calling for the arrests of those involved.
A federal murder investigation has been opened into the death of Brian Sicknick, the USCP officer who died on Thursday “due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” according to Capitol Police.
“Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” the statement read.
“He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”
At least 14 officers were injured in the violent attacks and five people died, including Officer Sicnick.
“The word hero does not appropriately describe officer Eugene Goodman,” said Jaime Harrison, a South Carolina Democrat and former senatorial candidate, in a statement posted to Twitter. “His judgment & heroism may have saved our Republic.”
The Democratic Coalition also wrote in a tweet: “USCP Officer Eugene Goodman is his name. He is a hero and he deserves the Medal of Freedom. Period.”