Eugene Goodman to receive Congressional Gold Medal along with officers who protected the Capitol during riots

'Those men and women risked and gave their lives to save ours, becoming martyrs for our democracy'

Chris Riotta
New York
Thursday 11 February 2021 20:52 GMT
Related video: New video reveals Mike Pence's narrow escape during Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced she will grant the Congressional Gold Medal to the United States Capitol Police officers who protected the Capitol during the deadly pro-Trump mob attacks last month. 

The speaker said in a Dear Colleague Letter issued on Thursday she was planning on awarding the highest civilian honour to officers like USCP Officer Eugene Goodman, seen saving Senator Mitt Romney in new video unveiled during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial earlier this week. 

The officer’s heroic actions were also previously seen in a viral video taken during the riots that showed him thwarting a groups of rioters from breaching the Senate chambers as lawmakers stood just feet away in hiding. 

“That day, those men and women risked and gave their lives to save ours, becoming martyrs for our democracy,” Ms Pelosi wrote on Thursday. “The outstanding heroism and patriotism of our heroes ... demand our deepest appreciation.”

Read more: Follow live updates on Donald Trump's second impeachment trial

At least 140 USCP and Metropolitan Police Department officers were injured during the riots on 6 January following a speech the former president held in Washington in which he urged his supporters to “fight like hell” while promoting false, repeatedly debunked claims of a stolen election. His supporters breached security measures and attacked police officers as they attempted to stop Congress from certifying the results of the election. 

USCP Officer Brian Sicknick died as a result of his injuries sustained by the mob, police officials said in a statement. Officer Howard Liebengood and MDP Officer Jeffrey Smith both died of suicide in the wake of the riots, as police leaders said the units involved in the attacks were suffering from significant stress, trauma and mental health issues. 

“We must never forget the sacrifice of Officer Brian Sicknick, Officer Howard Liebengood, MDP Officer Jeffrey Smith and the more than 50 USCP who sustained serious injuries,” Ms Pelosi wrote, “or the courage of the heroes such as Officer Eugene Goodman.”

Lawmakers introduced a bipartisan resolution to award the police officers the congressional honour, and on Thursday, Ms Pelosi invited others to cosponsor her bill. 

In her weekly press conference, the speaker said: “It's been such a sad time for us, but as we see what is being presented, we also see the extraordinary valor of the Capitol Police who risked and gave their lives to save our Capitol, our democracy, our lives.”

“They are martyrs for our democracy. Martyrs for our democracy, those who lost their lives,” she added. “That is why I am putting forth a resolution, introducing legislation to pay tribute to the Capitol Police and other law enforcement personnel who protected the Capitol by giving them a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that Congress can bestow.”

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