'Like a medieval battle scene': Officers recount being attacked by Capitol mob

PIERRE THOMAS, LUKE BARR and QUINN OWEN
·4 min read

Michael Fanone did not even get called to the Capitol on Jan. 6 -- he just went.

Fanone, a 20-year narcotics officer with the Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department, rushed to the scene because he heard his fellow officers were in distress -- one of them Daniel Hodges.

Both Fanone and Hodges were recorded on video the day of the Capitol assault being beaten up by an angry mob determined to get into the Capitol to stop the election from being affirmed.

PHOTO: Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the Capitol in Washington D.C., Jan. 6, 2021. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the Capitol in Washington D.C., Jan. 6, 2021. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

"It looked like a medieval battle scene," Michael Fanone recounted to ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas on Friday. "Some of the most brutal combat I've ever encountered."

When he arrived on scene, Fanone said, it was "chaos."

PHOTO: Metropolitan Police Department Narcotics officer Michael Fanone speaks with ABC News' Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas about his experience at the U.S. Capitol when a pro-trump mob attempted to get in. (Rob Massey for ABC News)
PHOTO: Metropolitan Police Department Narcotics officer Michael Fanone speaks with ABC News' Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas about his experience at the U.S. Capitol when a pro-trump mob attempted to get in. (Rob Massey for ABC News)

"There’s no longer any police lines," he said. "There's just chaos. Rioters running rampant across the Capitol grounds, fatigued, you know, injured officers everywhere."

The images of the two officers being attacked shocked the country.

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PHOTO: Peter Stager of Arkansas was charged for allegedly beating a police officer with an American flag during the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021. (Christopher Chern via Storyful)
PHOTO: Peter Stager of Arkansas was charged for allegedly beating a police officer with an American flag during the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021. (Christopher Chern via Storyful)

Fanone was beaten with a flagpole as he lay on the ground.

PHOTO: Officer Daniel Hodges of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is crushed in a doorway to the Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (Jon Farina/Status Coup)
PHOTO: Officer Daniel Hodges of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is crushed in a doorway to the Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (Jon Farina/Status Coup)

Hodges was seen crying out for help as got crushed in a doorway.

As he was making his way through the catacomb entrance at the top of the Capitol's West Front, Fanone said, he could smell tear gas and went into the melee with no protective equipment, trying to give tired officers a break.

He said the officers who were in the tunnel defending the Capitol were "fighting like lions."

Then, the rioters overwhelmed him.

"Some guys pulled me out into the crowd and some were yelling something ... they were beating me," he said. "At one point, I got tased, people were yelling out, 'We got one. We got one,'" he recounted.

"Individuals in the crowd tried to get my gun. At one point, people started chanting, 'Kill him with his own gun,'" Fanone said. "I remember at one point, you know, some of the people in the crowd while I was getting tasered, they were stripping my gear off of my vest, my badge off my radio. They started grabbing ammunition magazines from from my belt."

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The father of four was also tased multiple times and suffered a minor heart attack.

He said he tried to appeal to the crowd’s humanity.

"I remember yelling out, not to anybody in specific, 'I have kids and it seemed to work.'"

PHOTO: Metropolitan Police Department Office Daniel Hodges speaks with ABC News' Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas about his experience at the U.S. Capitol when a pro-trump mob attempted to get in. (Rob Massey for ABC News)
PHOTO: Metropolitan Police Department Office Daniel Hodges speaks with ABC News' Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas about his experience at the U.S. Capitol when a pro-trump mob attempted to get in. (Rob Massey for ABC News)

Hodges, who is assigned to the MPD’s civil disturbance unit, said he was hit in the head multiple times while trying to make it to his fellow officers. He said he had to "fight" his way through the crowd.

"Some of them were absolutely crazed -- I would I call them zealous true believers," he said. "They wouldn't they would let nothing stop them from getting inside. And it didn't matter, what they had to do to get inside."

He said that he thought he was going to die and that some in the crowd called him a traitor, telling him to turn on his fellow officers.

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"I thought, 'this could be the end,' or 'I could not get out of this completely intact.'"

Hodges said there were "thousands" of rioters up against something like 200 officers.

As he was pinned in the doorway, crying out for help, someone attempted to rip off his gas mask, he said.

PHOTO: Metropolitan Police Department Office Daniel Hodges speaks with ABC News' Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas about his experience at the U.S. Capitol when a mob of President Trump supporters attempted to get in. (ABC News)
PHOTO: Metropolitan Police Department Office Daniel Hodges speaks with ABC News' Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas about his experience at the U.S. Capitol when a mob of President Trump supporters attempted to get in. (ABC News)

"The guy in front of me, that guy, he was he was practically foaming at the mouth. He was screaming and just grabbed my arm, grabbed my filter on my masks, started beating my head against the doorframe and ripping it off as best he could," Hodges said. "Once he got my mask off, he also was able to rip away my right baton from me and started beating me in the head with it."

He said it was sensory overload.

"Once they ripped my mask off, I was sucking in pepper spray, OC spray and tear gas the entire time. Obviously, that many people yelling in the tunnel is extremely loud. It was just a sensory overload. But all I know is that no one was getting by me," he said.

“They were waving the 'thin-blue-line flag' while they were assaulting us,” he said.

Both Fanone and Hodges expressed great pride for their police department and the officers who fought by their sides.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that we defended a democracy, that everyone's duly-elected representatives were in that building and the mob outside was not,” Hodges said.

'Like a medieval battle scene': Officers recount being attacked by Capitol mob originally appeared on abcnews.go.com