The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Biden to award Presidential Citizens Medal to 12 people for Jan. 6

The honorees include state officials who resisted pressure to overturn election results, police officers who defended the Capitol and election workers

D.C. police Officer Daniel Hodges, left, and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman speak with Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) before a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in December. (Alex Brandon/AP)
2 min

President Biden will honor 12 people with the Presidential Citizens Medal on Friday on the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol, for “exemplary contributions to our democracy,” a White House official said Thursday.

Those receiving the medal include seven police officials — both from the Capitol Police and D.C. police — who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6, three state and local officials who resisted pressure to overturn election results, and mother-and-daughter election workers in Georgia who faced threats and harassment.

The Presidential Citizens Medal is one of the country’s highest civilian honors and is given to those who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.”

Friday marks two years since a violent mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an unprecedented attack on Congress, seeking to stop the certification of Biden’s win. A congressional committee that spent 18 months investigating the attack found Trump’s conduct following the 2020 election was to blame and recommended that he be barred from ever holding office again. Trump has announced he is running a third time for the presidency.

The 12 honorees include:

  • Brian D. Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who died a day after being injured while defending the Capitol on Jan. 6;
  • Harry Dunn, who defended the building against the rioters and faced racial slurs and harassment, according to the White House;
  • Caroline Edwards, the first law enforcement officer who was injured by rioters and sustained a traumatic brain injury;
  • Aquilino Gonell, who served as a Capitol Police sergeant and was injured during the attack;
  • Eugene Goodman, who diverted an angry mob from the Senate floor while senators were still evacuating;
  • Michael Fanone, a D.C. police officer who was injured while defending the Capitol on Jan. 6 and resigned from the department shortly after;
  • Daniel Hodges, another D.C. police officer who also suffered injuries during the attack;
  • Jocelyn Benson, who served as Michigan secretary of state and faced enormous pressure — including from armed protesters outside her house — to overturn the election results;
  • Russell “Rusty” Bowers, then the Arizona House speaker who also pushed back on efforts to overturn election results;
  • Al Schmidt, then the city commissioner on the Philadelphia County Board of Elections who ensured votes were counted even as pro-Trump figures pressured him to overturn the results;
  • Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, a mother-and-daughter duo who both served as election workers in Fulton County, Ga., also will receive the medal. The two endured threats and harassment after the election.