A Capitol Police officer is being praised as a hero after it was revealed that he single-handedly steered pro-Trump rioters away from the Senate chambers during Wednesday’s (Jan. 6) attack. Officer Eugene Goodman was initially identified by CNN’s Kristin Wilson, who shared a photo of him during a pivotal moment of the insurrection.
“This moment in [HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic’s] stunning footage. In front of the officer, coming up the stairs, is a mass of rioters,” she captioned the photo. “The USCP officer [Goodman] glances to his left. Between those two chairs is the entrance to the senate floor. He lured them to his right, away from their targets.”
In the footage shared by Bobic, Goodman can be seen confronting one of the riot leaders — a white man wearing a QAnon shirt. Goodman looks to his left and sees that the door leading to the Senate floor is open. With nothing to arm himself except for a baton, the officer pushes the lead rioter — a deliberate move intended to distract the man and the mob so that he could lure them away from the chambers.
The Washington Post further elaborated how important Goodman’s actions were and how he undoubtedly prevented further fatalities.
“Had the rioters turned right, they would have been a few feet away from the main entrance into the chamber. On the other side of that door, had they made their way into the Senate, were at least a half-dozen armed officers; including one with a semiautomatic weapon in the middle of the floor scanning each entrance for intruders,” The Post writes.
Later in the footage, Goodman could be seen luring the rioters all the way to a back corridor outside the Senate, where they were met by a group of officers. Several other outlets also noted how Goodman, a Black man, bravely put himself in harm’s way during the incident, as several of the white rioters could be heard making racist threats like, “This is our America!”
About Goodman’s actions, ProPublica’s Pabela Colloff tweeted, “Now it seems clear that this officer tricked the mob away from the unguarded door to the Senate, using himself—a Black man—as the bait. He is a national hero.”
After the insurrection, several Black Capitol officers spoke anonymously with BuzzFeed News about the verbal threats and racist abuse they endured from rioters.
“You have the nerve to be holding a Blue Lives Matter flag, and you are out there fucking us up,” one officer told the outlet. “[One rioter] pulled out his [police] badge and he said, ‘We’re doing this for you.’ Another guy had his badge. So I was like, ‘Well, you gotta be kidding.’”
See videos and photos of Goodman’s courageous actions below.