The intense scene plays out in body-camera footage of the attack broadcast by CNN on Wednesday evening, casting new light on Fanone’s struggle to escape a clash he later described as “the most brutal, savage hand-to-hand combat of my entire life.” Fanone suffered a mild heart attack and a concussion in the melee.
The vivid violence in the clip stands in stark contrast to claims by some Republicans on Wednesday, who sought to downplay the severity of the deadly insurrection — with one GOP lawmaker even describing the attack as a “normal tourist visit.”
CNN host Don Lemon, who has interviewed Fanone at length in the past, teared up as he showed the body camera footage and called on Republicans to acknowledge the reality faced by police in the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“For all the people who are [saying] ‘hugs and kisses, didn’t happen,’ come on. That’s the reality of what happened to Officer Michael Fanone that day,” Lemon said. “Dragged down the steps, Tased with his own weapon, and then you heard him yelling, ‘I have kids.' ”
Fanone, 40, has emerged as one of the loudest voices among the police who battled a pro-Trump mob at the Capitol, speaking at length about his battles with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury in the wake of the insurrection and calling on Republicans to speak truthfully about the violence.
He was among more than 850 D.C. police officers who responded to the Capitol as thousands of insurrectionists stormed the building in a bid to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory. Fanone joined a group of police trying to keep the mob out of the West Terrace, where he encountered what he later called a “medieval battle scene.”
The new body camera footage shows his perspective in an attack that has led to charges against two of the men prosecutors say beat him and Tasered him after he was dragged away from his colleagues.
In the footage, which starts around 3:15 p.m. on Jan. 6, Fanone is already prone on the ground and screaming in agony. Amid the chaos, someone in the crowd appears to step in to help, saying, “Don’t hurt him. We’re better than this!”
After Fanone, who has two daughters, yells to the crowd that he has children, a path is eventually cleared and he’s dragged back up the steps where a group of police officers is still holding a doorway.
Fanone told CNN that he was knocked unconscious at some point. The video shows other police pulling him inside, laying him on the floor and then yelling for a medic. His partner later rushes to his side and urges the other officers to take off his vest, yelling, “He’s having trouble breathing!”
CNN aired the video hours after a number of Republicans used a House Oversight Committee hearing about Jan. 6 to recast and downplay the insurrection, The Washington Post’s Colby Itkowitz reported.
The hearing came shortly after House Republicans removed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her caucus leadership role for denouncing President Donald Trump’s repeated falsehoods about the election in the lead-up to the riots.
Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.) suggested it was a “boldfaced lie” to call the attacks an “insurrection.”
“You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” he said.
The riots resulted in five deaths and injuries to 140 police officers, including one hurt by an attacker who attempted to gouge his eyes out. Fanone has previously described the terror of being beaten by the mob.
“I don’t know how you can watch my body-worn camera footage and deny that Jan. 6 was anything other than violent and brutal,” Fanone told CNN last month.